Rising popularity of e-cigarettes linked to higher quit rate

Findings from US observational study suggest E-cigarettes appear to have helped to increase smoking cessation at the population level.| OnMedica |BMJ

Researchers have looked at whether the increase in the use of e-cigarettes in the US was associated with a change in overall smoking cessation rate.

They drew on responses to five population surveys from 2001 to 2015. E-cigarette users were identified from the most recent survey (2014-15) and smoking cessation rates were obtained from those who said they had smoked cigarettes in the preceding 12 months. Rates from this most recent survey were then compared to those of four earlier surveys.

Of 161,054 respondents to the 2014-15 survey, 22,548 were current smokers and 2,136 recent quitters. More than a third (38%) of current smokers and nearly half (49%) of recent quitters said they had tried e-cigarettes.

E-cigarette users were more likely than non-users to make a quit attempt (65% vs 40%) and more likely to succeed in quitting for at least three months (8.2% vs 4.8%).

The overall population quit rate for 2014-15 was significantly higher (5.6%) than that for 2010-11 (4.5%), and higher than those for all other survey years.

The 1.1 percentage point difference might appear small, but it represents approximately 350,000 additional US smokers who quit in 2014-15, emphasise the researchers.

Full story at OnMedica

Full reference: Shu-Hong Zhu et al.  E-cigarette use and associated changes in population smoking cessation: evidence from US current population surveys  BMJ 2017; 358 (Published 26 July 2017)

Related BMJ editorial: Rise in e-cigarette use linked to increase in smoking cessation rates

Towards a smoke-free generation: tobacco control plan for England

Outlining plans to reduce smoking in England, with the aim of creating a smoke-free generation | Department of Health

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The objectives of the tobacco control plan are to:

  • reduce the number of 15 year olds who regularly smoke from 8% to 3% or less
  • reduce smoking among adults in England from 15.5% to 12% or less
  • reduce the inequality gap in smoking prevalence, between those in routine and manual occupations and the general population
  • reduce the prevalence of smoking in pregnancy from 10.5% to 6% or less

The aim is to achieve these objectives by the end of 2022.

Full report available here

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

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