Stub it out

Association of Optometrists | July 2019| Stub it out

The Association of Optometrists have launched a new campaign to raise awareness of the association between smoking and sight threatening conditions. A recent poll highlights that round 20 per cent of people (a fifth)  who smoke do not recognise that smoking can cause blindness or sight impairment. 

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The campaign signposts smokers to free help that is available to encourage them to stop smoking.  They also underline that optometrists can provide a full eye health check as part of a routine appointment and can help detect diseases early, whether you are a smoker or not (Source: Association of Optometrists).

In the news:

BBC News Smoking ‘damages eyes as well as lungs’ 

Of interest:  Office for National Statistics Adult smoking habits in the UK Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2017 

NHS Trust develops text messaging service to help quit smoking

Digital Health Age | June 2019 | NHS Trust develops text messaging service to help quit smoking 

NHS patients in Gateshead who smoke and want to stop immediately are now able to access a behavioural change text message service, that is designed to provide daily ‘nudges’ of motivation and advice that can give them the support they need when they need it.

In the UK smoking is responsible for the deaths of one in five adults aged 35 and over, and around half of long-term smokers will die as the result of their addiction.

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Rob Allcock, chest physician at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Gateshead said: “Whilst smoking rates across Gateshead have fallen by more than a third over the last eight years, smoking remains our largest cause of preventable death and it’s critical we continue to provide the region with education, information and support to help people put a stop to their addiction.”

The smoking cessation service was designed and developed by the Trust’s Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) team and launched in January 2019. Since its launch six months ago, hundreds of patients have accepted support to stop smoking and have benefited from daily support via their mobile phones.

GDE project lead Mark Hurrell said: “Patients discharged from hospital, those planned for admissions and outpatients are now asked if they smoke and all smokers who wish to stop are uploaded onto the mobile phone based service. Patients are then sent a series of motivational support messages over a three-month period and are also directed to appropriate stop smoking support”. (Source: Digital Health Age )

Full, unabridged story is available from Digital Health Age 

How many cigarettes are there in a bottle of wine? A comparison of gender-linked population cancer risks between alcohol and tobacco

ydes, T.J., Burton, R., Inskip, H., Bellis, M.A., & Sheron, N. | 2019 |A comparison of gender-linked population cancer risks between alcohol and tobacco: how many cigarettes are there in a bottle of wine? | BMC Public Health | 19| 316 | https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6576-9

A study published in the BMC Public Health  calculated ‘cigarette-equivalent of population cancer harm’ for alcohol intake as the cancer risk associated with cigarettes is much better understood, than the cancer risk associated with alcohol consumption. 

The researchers found that consumption of one bottle of wine per week is associated with an increased absolute lifetime risk of alcohol-related cancers in women, driven by breast cancer, equivalent to the increased absolute cancer risk associated with ten cigarettes per week. For men this increased absolute cancer risk was equal to smoking five cigarettes a week.

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Image source: @phe_uk

Abstract

Background

In contrast to our knowledge about the number of cancers attributed to smoking, the number of cancers attributed to alcohol is poorly understood by the public. We estimate the increase in absolute risk of cancer (number of cases per 1000) attributed to moderate levels of alcohol, and compare these to the absolute risk of cancer attributed to low levels of smoking, creating a ‘cigarette-equivalent of population cancer harm’.

 

Methods

Alcohol and tobacco attributable fractions were subtracted from lifetime general population risks of developing alcohol- and smoking-related cancers, to estimate the lifetime cancer risk in alcohol-abstaining non-smokers. This was multiplied by the relative risk of drinking ten units of alcohol or smoking ten cigarettes per week, and increasing levels of consumption.

 

Results

One bottle of wine per week is associated with an increased absolute lifetime cancer risk for non-smokers of 1.0% (men) and 1.4% (women). The overall absolute increase in cancer risk for one bottle of wine per week equals that of five (men) or ten cigarettes per week (women). Gender differences result from levels of moderate drinking leading to a 0.8% absolute risk of breast cancer in female non-smokers.

 

Conclusions

One bottle of wine per week is associated with an increased absolute lifetime risk of alcohol-related cancers in women, driven by breast cancer, equivalent to the increased absolute cancer risk associated with ten cigarettes per week. These findings can help communicate that moderate levels of drinking are an important public health risk for women. The risks for men, equivalent to five cigarettes per week, are also of note (Source:  BMC).

 

The full paper is available at Public Health BMC

Related: PHE Health Matters: tobacco and alcohol CQUIN

In the news: BBC News How many cigarettes in a bottle of wine?

BBC News Is it time to raise the smoking age to 21

Research shows dementia rates falling by 15% per decade over last 30 years

The risk of developing dementia is falling, thanks to lifestyle improvements such as reductions in smoking, new research has found. Researchers have said that while the overall number of cases is rising due to the population living longer, an individual’s chances of having the disease is going down | Alzheimers Research UK

International experts have presented research indicating that dementia incidence rates may be falling by up to 15% decade on decade. Analysing data from seven population-based studies in the United States and Europe, Prof Hofman and a global team of researchers set out to determine changes in the incidence of dementia between 1988 and 2015.

Of 59,230 individuals included in the research, 5,133 developed dementia. The rate of new dementia cases declined by 15% per decade, a finding that was consistent across the different studies included in the analysis.

The findings will be discussed at the Alzheimer’s Research UK Conference 2019 in Harrogate.

Full story at Alzheimer’s Research UK

See also:

In This video, lead author Albert Hofman, discusses trends in dementia incidence over the last three decades at the Alzheimer’s Research UK  Conference 2019. Prof. Hofman goes on to explain the reasoning behind these trends.

 

Leeds research: Smoking may limit body’s ability to fight skin cancer

University of Leeds | February 2019 | Leeds research: Smoking may limit body’s ability to fight skin cancer

A study of more than 700 melanoma patients, mainly from the north of England, provides evidence to suggest that smoking may blight the immune response against melanoma and reduce survival.

The study led by experts at the University of Leeds found that people diagnosed with melanoma who also smoked/ had history of smoking are 40 per cent less likely to survive their melanoma than non-smokers within a decade of diagnosis.

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In a subset of 156 patients who had the most genetic indicators for immune cells, smokers were around four and a half times less likely to survive from the cancer than people who had never smoked.

Lead author Julia Newton-Bishop, Professor of Dermatology at the University of Leeds, said: “The immune system is like an orchestra, with multiple pieces. This research suggests that smoking might disrupt how it works together in tune, allowing the musicians to continue playing but possibly in a more disorganised way.

“The result is that smokers could still mount an immune response to try and destroy the melanoma, but it appears to have been less effective than in never-smokers, and smokers were less likely to survive their cancer.

“Based on these findings, stopping smoking should be strongly recommended for people diagnosed with melanoma.” (Source: University of Leeds)

Read the press release from the University of Leeds 

This study was funded by Cancer Research UK and has been published in the journal Cancer Research

Pozniak, J. et al.| 2019| Genetic and environmental determinants of immune response to cutaneous melanoma| Cancer Research| DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-2864

Smoke-free implementation in the Sheffield NHS trust

Public Health England | December 2018 | Smoke-free implementation in the Sheffield NHS trust

Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust is  reducing harm from tobacco to service users and staff, addressing complex implementation challenges.

Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust (SHSC)  are working to address the prevalence of smoking in the city. In 2016 over 66% of people admitted to their inpatient wards, and over 40% of people on the mental illness register in Sheffield, were recorded as smoking. This compared with a smoking prevalence of just 16% in the general Sheffield population (Source: Public Health England).

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The case study from Public Health England covers the key successes and challenges of the project and identifies the next steps.

Read the full case study from Public Health England

Smoking in the home:  New solutions for a Smokefree Generation

ASH| November 2018 | Smoking in the home:  New solutions for a Smokefree Generation

ASH (Action on Smoking) has published Smoking in the home:  New solutions for a Smokefree Generation; the report calls for collaboration between partners including housing, public health, environmental health, trading standards and the fire service to address the harms from smoking and intervene in communities with the highest rates of smoking.

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Image source: ash.org.uk

The recommendations have been informed by close working with professionals from across a range of sectors, engagement with tenants in the private and social sectors, and through analysis of national datasets and published evidence (Source: ASH).

Full report

Executive summary