From Action on Smoking and Health <[email protected]>
Subject ASH Daily News for 18 April 2024
Date April 18, 2024 1:05 PM
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** 18 April 2024

** UK

** Smoking among middle-class women in England up by 25% in 10 years – study (#1)

** More than one in ten ex-smokers who vape could relapse under Rishi Sunak's plan to restrict flavours, Government assessment claims (#2)

** Podcast: Can Rishi Sunak create a smoke-free generation? (#3)

** People in the UK: how do you feel about a ban on smoking? (#4)

** UK

** Smoking among middle-class women in England up by 25% in 10 years – study

The number of younger middle-class women who smoke has jumped 25% over the past decade, according to research.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the UK and accounts for 76,000 deaths annually. Experts from UCL examined data from nearly 200,000 adult participants in the Smoking Toolkit Study, a monthly survey of adults in England. Just over 44,000 were women aged 18-45.

The study, funded by Cancer Research UK and published in BMC Medicine, found that while overall smoking rates declined between 2013 and 2023, the proportion of women aged 18-45 from higher socioeconomic backgrounds who smoked rose from 12% to 15%.

In contrast, there was a drop in the proportion of less advantaged women of the same age who smoked, from 29% to 22%, while smoking rates among men of all backgrounds remained stable.

Dr Sarah Jackson, the lead author of the research, said: “We don’t know why younger affluent women are smoking more. Future studies could explore whether social media may be increasing uptake in this cohort, or whether they are less able to use strategies or support to avoid long-term relapse … We need to do a lot more research to find out.”

Vaping among all adults aged 18 to 45 more than tripled in the decade to 2023, with the bulk of the increase occurring after 2021. By 2023, one in five adults under 45 were vaping, the study calculated.

A new report from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has called for more action to prevent vaping among children.

The RCP study proposed restrictions on the promotion of e-cigarettes on social media, making e-cigarettes less affordable for young people and less appealing through plain packaging.

John Waldron, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Action on Smoking and Health, said UCL’s study demonstrated that there could be no complacency about continued declines in smoking rates.

He said: “It is of particular concern that the increases have been seen in women of child-bearing age, as smoking in pregnancy doesn’t just threaten the lives of women but also their unborn children.”

Ann McNeill, a professor of tobacco addiction at King’s College London, said: “Researchers and clinicians have worked tirelessly over the last few decades to educate people on the harms of smoking tobacco, and to a large extent we have been successful. It’s worrying therefore that we should see any increases in smoking in any social demographic.”

She added: “Smoking, in any form, is uniquely deadly. We need to move quickly to understand why this group of women in particular are risking their health, despite all of the evidence.”
Source: The Guardian, 18 April 2024

See also: BMC Medicine - Characterising smoking and nicotine use behaviours among women of reproductive age: a 10-year population study in England ([link removed]) | Royal College of Physicians – E-cigarettes and harm reduction ([link removed])
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** More than one in ten ex-smokers who vape could relapse under Rishi Sunak's plan to restrict flavours, Government assessment claims

More than one in ten ex-smokers who switched to vapes could relapse under plans to restrict flavours, according to the Government's own impact assessment.

The Department of Health highlighted research which estimated that 13 per cent of ex-smokers who vape could go back to cigarettes if flavours were not available.

Rishi Sunak's hotly-contested proposal cleared its first hurdle on Tuesday night. MPs voted by 383 to 67 to back the ban.

Under the bill, anyone born after 2009 won't be able to buy tobacco. This means children aged 15 or younger today will never legally be sold a cigarette in England.

Vapes are also expected to be limited to four flavours, sold in plain, tobacco-style packaging and displayed out of sight of kids as part of the same crackdown.

Currently vapes are sold in colourful packaging and in flavours such as cotton candy, which campaigners say appeal to children.

In its impact assessment, the Government said the 13 per cent figure was likely to be an 'upper limit'.

But, referencing research by Bristol University, it highlighted estimates that 'four per cent of smokers quit because of vapes, and 33 per cent of smokers stated that they would not quit and/or smoke more if flavours were not available'.

The impact assessment added: 'For ex-smokers, it was estimated that 13 per cent of ex-smokers vape and 13 per cent of these ex-smokers would relapse if flavours were not available.'

The assessment said the Bristol University decision aid tool is 'based on a scenario where only three flavours remain on the market'. These were: unflavoured, tobacco, and menthol.

The impact assessment continued: 'The impact on smokers quitting and ex-smokers relapsing would be lower if fewer flavours were restricted.

'Secondly, there are other quit aids that smokers could try, such as other nicotine replacement therapies.'

Source: The Daily Mail, 17 April 2024

Editorial note: The Tobacco and Vapes Bill gives the Government powers to restrict vape flavours but it does not specify how this restriction will be implemented or which flavours will be permitted. Restrictions on flavours are expected to be implemented via secondary legislation following further consultation.

See also: DHSC –Tobacco and Vapes Bill impact assessment ([link removed]) (page 91) | medRxiv - A decision aid for policymakers to estimate the impact of e-cigarette flavour restrictions on population smoking and e-cigarette use prevalence among youth versus smoking prevalence among adults ([link removed])

Read Here ([link removed])

** Podcast: Can Rishi Sunak create a smoke-free generation?

In this podcast, Ben Quinn, the Guardian’s political correspondent, and Helen Pidd, the Guardian’s Northern editor, discuss the Tobacco and Vapes Bill. This would ban the sale of tobacco to anyone born after 2009. To that age cohort onwards, the sale of cigarettes would be prohibited.

Source: The Guardian, 18 April 2024

Listen Here ([link removed])

** People in the UK: how do you feel about a ban on smoking?

The Guardian is looking for your views on the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, which was debated on Tuesday evening and saw 383 MPs vote in favour to 67 against.

You can submit your views here ([link removed] ) .

Source: The Guardian, 17 April 2024
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ASH Daily News is a digest of published news on smoking-related topics. ASH is not responsible for the content of external websites. ASH does not necessarily endorse the material contained in this bulletin.

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