Tobacco control playbook

This resource highlights the arguments and approaches that leaders in health systems across Europe have developed and used to counteract and succeed against the tobacco industry. |WHO Europe

The Tobacco Control Playbook has been developed by collecting numerous evidence-based arguments from different thematic areas, reflecting the challenges that tobacco control leaders have faced while implementing various articles of the WHO FCTC and highlighting arguments they have developed in order to counter and succeed against the tobacco industry.

This is the start of what is intended to be a living document, which will be updated and extended with further arguments and on the basis of feedback, as well as any developments in tobacco industry approaches. Everyone concerned with tobacco control is invited to contribute to its success by continuing to offer arguments and responses, and sharing their experiences through a dedicated website.

UK heart disease deaths fall by over 20% since indoor smoking ban

Smokers aged 35 and above are less likely to die from heart attacks since indoor venues went smoke-free 10 years ago | The Guardian

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Deaths from heart disease and strokes caused by smoking have fallen dramatically since lighting up in pubs, restaurants and other enclosed public places in England was banned 10 years ago.

New figures have shown that the number of smokers aged 35 and over dying from heart attacks and other cardiac conditions has dropped by over 20% since 2007 while fatalities from a stroke are almost 14% down.

The statistics, which Public Health England (PHE) has shared with the Guardian, come as medical, public health and anti-tobacco groups prepare to mark the 10th anniversary next Friday of smoking being prohibited in indoor public places by Tony Blair’s Labour government on 1 July 2007.

Figures collected by PHE’s Local Tobacco Control Profiles network show that while there were 32,548 deaths from heart disease attributable to smoking in 2007-09, there were 25,777 between 2013 and 2015 – a fall of 20.8%. Similarly, a total of 9,743 smokers died from a stroke in 2007-09, but fewer – 8,334 – between 2013 and 2015, a drop of 14.5%.

Read the full news story here

Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2016

Cigarette smoking among adults including the proportion of people who smoke including demographic breakdowns, changes over time, and e-cigarettes. | Office for National Statistics

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Main points

  • In 2016, of all adult survey respondents in the UK, 15.8% smoked which equates to around 7.6 million in the population.
  • Of the constituent countries, 15.5% of adults in England smoked; for Wales, this figure was 16.9%; Scotland, 17.7% and Northern Ireland, 18.1%.
  • In the UK, 17.7% of men were current smokers which was significantly higher in comparison with 14.1% of women.
  • Those aged 18 to 24 in the UK experienced the largest decline in smoking prevalence of 6.5 percentage points since 2010.
  • Among current smokers in Great Britain, men smoked 12.0 cigarettes each day on average whereas women smoked 11.0 cigarettes each day on average; these are some of the lowest levels observed since 1974.
  • In Great Britain, 5.6% of respondents in 2016 stated they currently used an e-cigarette in 2016, which equates to approximately 2.9 million people in the population.

Access the full document: Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2016

Cutting smoking rates could save NHS £67m a year

Study highlights the burden that smoking places on UK society, particularly on the poorest and least advantaged groups | OnMedica | Tobacco control

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If smoking rates dropped to 5% in the UK by 2035, the NHS could save £67 million in just one year. This is according to research published this week in Tobacco Control.

Researchers at the UK Health Forum, commissioned by Cancer Research UK, examined the health and economic impact of the UK becoming ‘tobacco-free’ – where less than 5% of the population smoke. The study predicts that achieving this target would avoid nearly 100,000 new cases of smoking-related disease, including 35,900 cancers over 20 years.

The impact of this health improvement amounts to a saving of £67 million in direct NHS and social care costs and an incredible £548 million in additional costs to the economy in 2035 alone.

If today’s trends continue, around 15% of people from the most deprived groups are predicted to smoke in 2035, compared to just 2.5% from the wealthiest.

Read more via OnMedica

Full reference: Hunt D, Knuchel-Takano A, Jaccard A, et al. Modelling the implications of reducing smoking prevalence: the public health and economic benefits of achieving a ‘tobacco-free’ UK

Tobacco packaging design for reducing tobacco use

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews has published ‘Tobacco packaging design for reducing tobacco use’.

Tobacco use is the largest single preventable cause of death and disease worldwide. Standardised tobacco packaging is an intervention intended to reduce the promotional appeal of packs and can be defined as packaging with a uniform colour (and in some cases shape and size) with no logos or branding, apart from health warnings and other government-mandated information, and the brand name in a prescribed uniform font, colour and size. Australia was the first country to implement standardised tobacco packaging between October and December 2012, France implemented standardised tobacco packaging on 1 January 2017 and several other countries are implementing, or intending to implement, standardised tobacco packaging.

The objective of the study was to assess the effect of standardised tobacco packaging on tobacco use uptake, cessation and reduction.

The available evidence suggests that standardised packaging may reduce smoking prevalence. Only one country had implemented standardised packaging at the time of this review, so evidence comes from one large observational study that provides evidence for this effect. A reduction in smoking behaviour is supported by routinely collected data by the Australian government. Data on the effects of standardised packaging on non-behavioural outcomes (e.g. appeal) are clearer and provide plausible mechanisms of effect consistent with the observed decline in prevalence. As standardised packaging is implemented in different countries, research programmes should be initiated to capture long term effects on tobacco use prevalence, behaviour, and uptake. The researchers did not find any evidence suggesting standardised packaging may increase tobacco use.

Read the full text here

The effect of branding on the cigarette smoking experience

Skaczkowski, G. et al. (2017) BMJ Open. 7:e014099

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Objective: To examine the effect of branding, as indicated by brand name, on evaluation of the cigarette smoking experience.

Results: Cigarettes given a premium brand name were rated as having a better taste, were less harsh and less dry than identical cigarettes given a value brand name. This pattern was observed irrespective of whether the two packs actually contained premium or value cigarettes. These effects were specific: the brand name did not influence ratings of cigarette variant attributes (strength, tar, volume of smoke, lightness and draw effort).

Conclusions: Despite the belief that brand names represent genuine differences between cigarette products, the results suggest that at least some of this perceived sensory difference is attributable to brand image.

Read the full article here

Population-based screening program for reducing oral cancer mortality in cigarette smokers

Chuang, S-L. et al. Cancer. Published online: 5 January 2017

Background: To reduce oral cancer mortality, an organized, population-based screening program for the early detection of oral premalignancy and oral cancer was designed for high-risk individuals with habits of betel quid chewing, cigarette smoking, or both. The objective of this report was to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of this program in reducing the incidence of advanced disease and deaths from oral cancer.

Conclusions: An organized, population-based oral cancer screening program targeting more than 2 million Taiwanese cigarette smokers and/or betel quid chewers demonstrated the effectiveness of reducing stage III or IV oral cancers and oral cancer mortality. These evidence-based findings corroborate and support the screening strategy of oral visual inspection for the prevention of oral cancer among high-risk individuals in areas with a high incidence of oral cancer.

Read the full abstract here