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

Smoking cessation in secondary care: acute and maternity settings

Self-assessment framework for NHS acute trusts to develop local action to reduce smoking prevalence and the use of tobacco. | Public Health England

This self-assessment tool breaks down the NICE guidance into 4 areas:

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  • systems required to implement the guidance
  • communication required
  • training that will help staff to successfully implement the recommendations
  • treatments that should be available to support staff and service users

This self-assessment tool supports all of the recommendations applicable to acute services in the NICE guidelines on Smoking cessation in secondary care.

Public Health England has also developed a suite of resources including a self-assessment tool to support the implementation of NICE guidance in mental health settings.

Smoking cessation services face cuts

Smoking cessation services are being hit as cash-strapped local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) look to save money | OnMedica

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Evidence obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by The Observer reveals that an increasing number of CCGs have been instructing GPs to stop providing the services with many CCGs arguing it is no longer their responsibility as local authorities are now responsible for public health.

Local authorities hold a £2.8 billion ring-fenced public health budget but, as the grants have been pared back in other areas, councils have pulled their funding for stop smoking services.

Read the full article here

Burning Injustice: Reducing tobacco-driven harm and inequality

Recommendations to the government, local authorities and the NHS | All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health

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Image source: APPGSH

The APPGSH launched this inquiry to review current action on tobacco control in response to concerns that funding is being reduced or not used effectively for work on tobacco control. The report provides evidence-based recommendations to the government, local authorities and the NHS for effective action to further reduce smoking prevalence at a time of austerity.

Read the full report 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

New resources on e-cigarette use in pregnancy

New resources launched and webinar scheduled on e-cigarette use in pregnancy | via The Royal College of Midwives

Two new resources on the use of e-cigarettes during pregnancy have been launched to help midwives in their consultations with women. The resources were developed in response to midwives and health visitors being asked for advice on e-cigarette use.

An infographic and a briefing has been produced by the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group, which is a partnership of stakeholders, including the Royal College of Midwives.

These resources  for health professionals  address some of the most frequently asked questions in consultations with women who have expressed an interest in using e-cigarettes to quit smoking.

The documents say that, although not completely risk-free, electronic cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of smoking for users, with no known risks to bystanders and that e-cigarettes contain no carbon monoxide.

The briefing can be accessed here

Click on the image below to view the infographic:

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Image source: http://www.rcm.org.uk