From Action on Smoking and Health <[email protected]>
Subject ASH Daily News for 22 May 2023
Date May 22, 2023 1:40 PM
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** 22 May 2023

** UK

** Labour wants NHS to tackle heart and suicide deaths (#1)

** Opinion: Labour will throw everything at reforming the NHS (#2)

** Wes Streeting: I’ll tackle junk food and vapes for children (#3)

** Vapes falsely advertised as nicotine-free sold online without age checks, LBC investigation finds (#4)

** Opinion: Reviving the NHS—lessons from Labour 1997-2005 (#5)

** UK

** Labour wants NHS to tackle heart and suicide deaths

Sir Keir Starmer has proposed introducing new NHS targets on cutting deaths in England from heart disease, strokes and suicide.

A Labour government would aim to reduce deaths from heart disease and strokes by a quarter over 10 years and see suicide figures decline within five.

The Labour leader has outlined his plan to reform the NHS in a speech.

In terms of the overall NHS budget, Sir Keir said Labour would set out its funding plans ahead of the next general election. "But I'm keen to emphasise, it's change and reform, not just money," Sir Keir said.

Sir Keir also said Labour would ban commercials for junk and sugary food before 21:00, as well as adverts for vaping products.

"The government has toyed with this and has backed off. I think this is the wrong thing as we have to protect the health of our young people and that requires us to put in place pretty solid bans on advertising to children and that's what we would be prepared to do," he said.

Sir Keir called for three "big shifts" in approach for the NHS: promoting digital methods, community care and preventative measures.

Sir Keir's speech on Monday is his third on Labour's five "missions" for government if it wins power, the areas which are likely to form the backbone of the party's manifesto at the next general election.

Source: BBC, 22 May 2023

Editorial note: The Labour health mission includes the following commitments to help achieve a smokefree Britain:

• Hospitals to integrate opt-out smoking cessation interventions into routine care
• All hospital trusts to have a named smoking cessation lead
• All hospital trusts to report on progress towards achieving smokefree objectives
• Tobacco companies obliged to include information in tobacco products that counters the myth that smoking alleviates stress
• Regulate promotion and packaging of vapes so they are less appealing to children

See also: Keir Starmer – Health mission transcript ([link removed]) | Labour – 5 missions for a better future ([link removed])
Read Here ([link removed])

** Opinion: Labour will throw everything at reforming the NHS

Writing in the Telegraph, Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour party, discusses Labour’s plans for the NHS if they were to win at the next general election.

Starmer writes that fixing long waiting lists, improving the ability of accessing GP appointments and a increasing the number of ambulances will require more than just greater funding and it will instead require reform.

He states that Labour will set out plans for the NHS which will move care closer to home, give patients more control and “put prevention first, right across society”. Starmer also argues that reforms which make people uncomfortable can often be the most effective.

As an example of one of the reforms Labour wishes to implement, Starmer writes about clinical trials. In 2017 the UK was 4th in international rankings for clinical trials but has since fallen to 10th which, according to Starmer, has cost the UK £450 million in lost revenue and potentially missed medical breakthroughs. Starmer writes that this can be addressed by “clever reform.”

Source: The Telegraph, 20 May 2023
Read Here ([link removed])

** Wes Streeting: I’ll tackle junk food and vapes for children

Labour is prepared to use “the heavy hand of state regulation” to force food companies to make their products healthier, the shadow health secretary has said.

Wes Streeting said the sugar tax on soft drinks had been an “effective public policy intervention on public health” and suggested it could be extended to other products.

Streeting reiterated plans to ban junk food advertising aimed at children both on broadcast media and online by 2025, saying there would be no delay and that industry should “get ready”.

He said the soft drink industry levy was “without doubt one of the most effective public policy interventions on public health under the Conservatives — about one of the only ones”.

The levy, or sugar tax, adds 18p per litre to the price of soft drinks with between 5g and 8g of sugar per 100ml, and 24p per litre to soft drinks with even higher sugar levels.

Figures released this week showed a 50 per cent rise in the past year in the proportion of children trying vaping, with 11.6 per cent of those aged 11 to 17 saying they had tried it once or twice. Most said they had tried disposable vapes bought from corner shops.

He said that although he was convinced of the benefits of vaping as a tool to quit smoking, “this is still a harmful product”, adding: “And the fact that the government have allowed this product to be not just sold to children but to allow younger generations to become hooked on nicotine, I think is a total failure of public policy.”

Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of the charity Action on Smoking and Health, said it was important to note that vaping was much less harmful than smoking. She said: “We need to communicate the risks accurately so that adult smokers realise vaping is much less risky, while addressing the marketing and promotion that is helping drive the growth in youth vaping.”

Source: The Times, 19 May 2023

See also: ASH – 2023 Youth vaping survey press release ([link removed])
Read Here ([link removed])

** Vapes falsely advertised as nicotine-free sold online without age checks, LBC investigation finds

LBC has found evidence of retailers falsely advertising illegal vapes as nicotine-free to get away with selling them online, and in some cases without age checks.

We bought two vapes, listed on Amazon, which raised suspicion with customer reviews being used to quietly tell buyers they do in fact have nicotine in them.

They were delivered within days and were left at the flat door without any age verification checks.

The item description for a Blue Razz Ice Lost Mary BM3500 stated clearly that it was a ‘no nicotine vape’.
But a lab test confirmed it contained the same amount of the highly addictive drug as around 280 cigarettes.

The size of the device makes it illegal for sale in the UK.

Last week, it was revealed that there has been a 50% rise in the proportion of children who’ve tried vaping over the past year.

Experimental vaping among 11 to 17 year-olds increased from 7.7% last year to 11.6% this year, according to a survey done for the Action on Smoking and Health campaign group.

Earlier this year, the public health minister made clear that protecting young people from vapes would be an important element of his announcement to use vapes to help move the UK towards being smoke-free by 2030.

Responding to LBC’s investigation, the Department for Health and Social Care said: “It’s already illegal to sell vapes to children and we are exploring further ways to tackle youth vaping through our newly launched Call for Evidence, which will look at the appearance and characteristics of vapes, the marketing and promotion of vapes, and the role of social media.

Source: LBC, 22 May 2023

See also: See also: ASH – 2023 Youth vaping survey press release ([link removed])
Read Here ([link removed])

** Opinion: Reviving the NHS—lessons from Labour 1997-2005

Writing for the BMJ, Nigel Crisp, a crossbench member of the House of Lords, compares the situation the NHS is in today with the situation it was in towards the end of the 1990s and the lessons that could be learned from the period of improvement the NHS saw between 1997 to 2005.

Lord Crisp writes that the NHS during the end of 90s saw long waiting lists, staff shortages and public concern with the quality of their hospitals. Crisp states that as a result of major investments and substantial improvements in the NHS, surgical waiting lists fell by more than 40%, preventable mortality from cardiac causes and cancer also fell and public confidence in the NHS doubled between 1999 and 2009. Crisp argues that although this was a time of progress, there were also some failings.

He notes that there were too many targets which led to gaming or “hitting the target while missing the point.” He also argues that there was too much focus on “quantity rather than quality” in staffing.

Lord Crisp writes that those who focus on funding or organisational issues miss the point the point and that a health based solution is needed. To achieve this, Crisp gives four key recommendations:

• Firstly, an incoming government would need to develop a long term health plan that is created in collaboration with those from health and care services, as well as wider society, which would establish direction and momentum.

• Secondly, the shift from care taking place primarily in hospitals to the community needs to be accelerated and funded.

• Thirdly, we need to take a more holistic approach to health than ever before. Social determinants, such as housing, environment, poverty and education, are vital in creating sustainable population wide health improvements.

• Crisp concludes by saying there needs to be a greater focus on people’s experience as professionals and patients and states that health and care workers who were responsible for previous NHS success.

Source: The BMJ, 15 May 2023
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