Stop smoking services declining across England

Cuts to government funding have led to Stop Smoking Services declining across England, a new report has revealed | Cancer Research UK 

The report by Cancer Research UK and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) revealed that 44% of councils no longer provide a full, specialist service to all smokers looking to quit. Just over half of local authorities in England are still offering a specialist service that provides the best support to all smokers looking to quit the habit.

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The report links the continued decline in specialist services to Government cuts, which have seen funding for local Stop Smoking Services decline by £41.3 million since 2014/2015 – a drop of 30% in under 4 years.

Of the councils that don’t offer a full specialist service to all smokers, there are varying levels of support on offer. Around 1 in 10 (9%) authorities have restricted specialist support to groups such as pregnant women and people with mental health conditions, where smoking rates have plateaued in recent years.

But 100,000 smokers in England no longer have access to any council-funded support to quit, with 3% of local authorities not offering stop smoking services at all. Local councils that have kept specialist services have higher rates of quitting than those with no specialist Stop Smoking Services.

The report makes several recommendations to help tackle the rising issue of stop smoking service cuts, including the reversal of government cuts and ensuring services are evidence-based.

Full report: Action on Smoking and Health & Cancer Research UK |  A Changing Landscape: Stop smoking services and tobacco control in England

Related Cancer Research UK press release: Stop Smoking Services stubbed out across England

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

Cancer Insight – Smoking Cessation

Cancer Research UK has published a newsletter focusing on smoking cessation aimed at community pharmacy teams.

The latest edition provides information on the safety of e-cigarettes, the power of very brief advice and the most successful ways to quit smoking. The magazine also doubles up as a poster to provide different options for quitting smoking.

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Image source: publications.cancerresearchuk.org

Cancer Research UK also has a number of practical resources for health professionals on smoking cessation which pharmacy teams may find useful, especially if teams are planning to participate in Public Health England’s 28-day stop smoking campaign, Stoptober, which launches on 20 September.

Full document via Cancer Research UK

 

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

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’.

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Image source: http://www.cochranelibrary.com/
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