From Action on Smoking and Health <[email protected]>
Subject ASH Daily News for 8 May 2024
Date May 8, 2024 10:15 AM
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** 8 May 2024

** UK

** How you could save £13k a year – and live longer (#3)

** Obesity and low productivity in the UK go hand in hand, warns think-tank (#7)

** Chorley takeaway sold vapes to children in pizza boxes (#2)

** International

** Guernsey: Move to increase age cigarettes can be sold (#6)

** UK

** How you could save £13k a year – and live longer

Which extravagant luxuries could you buy if you quit smoking, drinking, or that takeaway habit? Here’s how it all adds up.

Around 60 per cent of smokers in the UK attempt to quit every year, with 10 per cent of those aiming to do so within three months. NHS studies suggest the most effective means of giving up are nicotine replacement patches, GP-prescribed medication or the use of local stop-smoking services. But according to new research by University College London, sheer expense is proving to be one of the most powerful deterrents of all. The average price of 20 cigarettes in the UK is £15.66 (up from £8.29 in 2014).

Amid a cost of living crisis, cigarettes have become less of an affordable daily “treat” and more akin to a luxury product. And it’s not just smoking: the price of being unhealthy in 2024 is spiralling in numerous ways. When you stack up the costs, the amount we could all save by quitting a few bad habits is quite remarkable. So even if your doctor can’t convince you to live healthier, perhaps your bank balance will. Here is a breakdown on what the average Briton is spending on unhealthy habits – and what we could be treating ourselves to instead.

Smoking can harm every organ in the body, says Hazel Cheeseman, the deputy chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health. “As well as various cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke, heart disease and diabetes, smoking can damage your eyesight, your hearing, women’s reproductive health and has even been shown to cause depression and schizophrenia,” she says. “There was a period between the Sixties and early Noughties where smoking was becoming more affordable. What we are seeing now is that reduced affordability is one of the most effective levers to change behaviour.”

The average UK smoker spends £3,000 per year on tobacco products. That works out at £250 for 320 cigarettes per month. Smoking the same number of roll-your-own cigarettes would cost roughly £114.

Source: The Telegraph, 7 May 2024
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** Obesity and low productivity in the UK go hand in hand, warns think-tank

Millions of people are unable to work or are less productive because they are obese, according to a report that suggests the condition helps to explain why economic inactivity rates due to sickness in the UK are at record levels.

The Institute for Public Policy Research, a think-tank, is calling on the government to stop treating obesity as a matter of individual responsibility and to tackle “working conditions, changes in the built environment and our broken food system” to reduce the number who are severely overweight.

The UK has the third-highest proportion of people living with obesity in the OECD, affecting one in four adults. Only the US and Chile have higher levels. The IPPR cited a report from Frontier Economics, a consultancy, which said obesity cost the UK an estimated £98bn every year, including through lower productivity.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, the number of people who were economically inactive due to long-term sickness had reached historic highs, the IPPR noted, lending urgency to the search for answers.

“We find a link between economic participation and rates of obesity; areas with high rates of obesity also have high rates of economic inactivity,” the researchers added.

Jamie O’Halloran, senior research fellow at IPPR, said: “Poor public health is holding back the UK economy, and obesity is playing a significant role. The poorest regions across England are feeling this epidemic the worst.”

The IPPR found that four out of five of the parliamentary constituencies with the highest levels of obesity and economic inactivity were in the north, while four out of five of those with the lowest levels were in the south.

Constituencies such as Wansbeck, Redcar, North Durham, Blackpool North and Sunderland South all had obesity rates of more than 15 per cent and economic inactivity rates of more than 45 per cent, the researchers found.

The polling for IPPR found that about half of the public supported increasing taxes (52 per cent) and regulation (59 per cent) on ultra-processed food and drink manufacturers — compared with less than 10 per cent who wanted to see taxes and regulation decrease.

O’Halloran said the government’s laissez-faire approach to public health had been “a failed experiment”. He added: “We need our institutions to step up to regulate unhealthy food, use taxes and subsidies to make the healthy option the cheaper option, and invest in the NHS, local councils and education so that health can be the cornerstone of UK prosperity.”

Source: Financial Times, 6 May 2024

See also: IPPR – Scale of the challenge: Obesity and the labour market ([link removed])
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** Chorley takeaway sold vapes to children in pizza boxes

Lancashire County Council's Trading Standards Officers prosecuted two businesses for illegal e-cigarette sales to children.

During a visit, officers found stocks of illicit vapes hidden in take away pizza boxes. The business also faced an offence for advertising e-cigarettes on Facebook.

Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing said: "Our Trading Standards officers are kept busy investigating complaints about illicit sales to young people.”

"These cases show that continued criminality will eventually catch up with offenders.”

"This is completely unacceptable and had to be dealt with seriously.”

"Our Trading Standards team will always take robust action against those who openly break the law."

"We encourage anyone who has concerns about the sale of any age-restricted products to report these to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service helpline."

Source: Lancashire Telegraph, 7 May 2024
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** International

** Guernsey: Move to increase age cigarettes can be sold

A proposal to increase the age cigarettes can be sold to people in Guernsey has been put forward.

Deputies Peter Roffey and Lindsay de Sausmarez want Health and Social Care (HSC) to investigate increasing it from 18.

It follows a move in the UK to ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after 2009.

If approved, HSC would have to report back to the States before the end of 2025.

The amendment to HSC's proposal's to ban smoking in cars with children will be debated by the States later this month.

Mrs de Sausmarez said: "We're not criminalising smoking but looking at whether the age at which people can be sold tobacco products should be increased."

The proposal states: "It is unusual for people to take up smoking for the first time at a mature age.

"Therefore reducing smoking amongst the young would be of great benefit in further reducing the overall prevalence of smoking in Guernsey.

"While making it illegal to sell tobacco to young adults would not necessarily stop them accessing the drug, it would probably make it less readily availability to this age group."

Source: BBC, 8 May 2024
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