Quit rates for smoking at their highest for a decade

Success rates for quitting smoking are at their highest level for a decade, according to new figures. Experts suggest the use of e-cigarettes may be an important factor. | via OnMedica

Nearly one in five (19.8%) quit attempts were successful in the first half of 2017, up from an average of 15.7% over the last decade. The figures come from researcher carried out by University College London, with support from Cancer Research UK.

The researchers collected data from over 18,000 participants using cross-sectional household surveys from January 2007 to June 2017. The findings reveal that quit smoking success rates in England in the first six months of 2017 were higher than the average rate during the preceding decade.

Full report: Quit success rates in England 2007-2017

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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

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

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

Standardised packaging of tobacco products

Public Health England has published Health matters: tobacco standard packs. This edition sets out the evidence on standardised packaging and calls on local authorities and health professionals to play their part in ensuring that all smokers have access to the support they need. The publication brings together local and national level data, as well as campaigning and social marketing resources.

Additional link: PHE press release

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Image source: http://www.gov.uk/

Statistics on Smoking, England – 2016

This statistical report presents a range of information on smoking which is drawn together from a variety of sources. The report aims to present a broad picture of health issues relating to smoking in England and covers topics such as smoking prevalence, habits, behaviours and attitudes among adults and school children, smoking-related ill health and mortality and smoking-related costs.

The topics covered include:

Part 1: Smoking patterns in adults

Part 2: Smoking patterns in children

Part 3: Availability and affordability of tobacco

Part 4: Behaviour and attitudes to smoking

Part 5: Smoking-related costs, ill health and mortality

Each part provides an overview of the key findings on these topics, as well as providing links to sources of further information and relevant documents.

Use and effectiveness of quitlines versus Web-based tobacco cessation interventions among 4 state tobacco control programs

Neri, A. et al. Cancer. Article first published online: 8 February 2016

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Image source: Raul Liberwirth

Background: Comparative effectiveness studies of state tobacco quitlines and Web-based tobacco cessation interventions are limited. In 2009, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention undertook a study of the comparative effectiveness of state quitlines and Web-based tobacco cessation interventions.Methods: Standardized questionnaires were administered to smokers who enrolled exclusively in either quitlines or Web-based tobacco cessation services in 4 states in 2011-2012. The primary outcome was the 30-day point prevalence abstinence (PPA) rate at 7 months both between and within interventions.

Results: A total of 4086 participants were included in the analysis. Quitline users were significantly older, more heterogeneous in terms of race and ethnicity, less educated, less likely to be employed, and more often single than Web-based users. The 7-month 30-day PPA rate was 32% for quitline users and 27% for Web-based users. Multivariate models comparing 30-day PPA rates between interventions indicated that significantly increased odds of quitting were associated with being partnered, not living with another smoker, low baseline cigarette use, and more interactions with the intervention. After adjustments for demographic and tobacco use characteristics, quitline users had 1.26 the odds of being abstinent in comparison with Web-based users (95% confidence interval, 1.00-1.58; P = .053).

Conclusions: This is one of the largest comparative effectiveness studies of state tobacco cessation interventions to date. These findings will help public health agencies develop and tailor evidence-based tobacco cessation programs. Further research should focus on users of Web-based cessation interventions sponsored by state health departments and their cost-effectiveness.

Read the full abstract here