** For those leaving Great Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland) the European Union’s customs rules, limiting imports of duty-free cigarettes to 200, will come into play from 1 January 2021. The freedom to bring back anything from Europe will end, instead, new worldwide limits will apply for goods brought into Great Britain.
The new duty-free inbound personal allowances for alcohol will be 42 litres of beer, 18 litres of still wine and 4 litres of spirits or 9 litres of sparkling wine. On tobacco, the duty-free inbound personal allowance will be 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
A spokesperson for the British Medical Association said: “Anything that increases the availability of tobacco is a negative step for public health. Each year there are nearly half a million hospital admissions in England because of smoking in England and nearly 80,000 deaths annually.”
** Public Health officials have drawn up plans to ban smoking on county council sites from 1 January. On Thursday 10 September, the plans were endorsed by a meeting of the county council’s public health and prevention cabinet panel. If the proposals are backed by a meeting of the cabinet later this month, they will come into force from 1 January (2021). According to the report to the cabinet panel, there are an estimated 110,000 smokers in the county, amounting to 12% of the population.
Currently, employees of Hertfordshire County Council can smoke in designated outside areas, on-site. But a new ‘smokefree’ policy would mean employees – as well as visitors, volunteers, and contractors – would no longer be able to smoke on the premises of any county council workplace. Vaping will be allowed but only in designated areas and only during unpaid break times.
According to the report, to implement the ‘smokefree’ policy, the council will promote Stoptober and New Year quit campaigns and promote contact to local stop smoking services. It will also provide free medication to help staff stop smoking up to three months after the start of the policy, as well as advice and support for those who want to continue.
** Patients who smoke in Stockport will now receive new support with their tobacco addiction thanks to a new approach, and a new team based at Stepping Hill Hospital.
CURE is a Greater Manchester wide project to implement comprehensive tobacco dependence treatment in hospitals. Once admitted and identified, the new CURE team of five nursing and medical staff at Stepping Hill based in the hospital’s chest clinic will be on hand to offer support, advice, Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and other medications to help smokers to be smokefree during their stay and promote long-term quitting.
The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership aims to reduce smoking in the area by a third to 13% by the end of 2021, and to 5% by 2027, with CURE as one element of this. This will save hundreds of lives, as well as improving quality of life, with ex-smokers spending a lot less time in hospital. The cost savings for patients’ household budgets from no longer buying cigarettes could raise 34,000 households out of poverty across Greater Manchester.
Respiratory nurse practitioner and CURE team leader, Pauline Holmes said “Smoking is still the biggest preventable cause of death in Stockport, and one in two smokers will die from it. Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health, but smoking is part of an addiction, not a lifestyle choice, and people need support to get through this addiction. The CURE project will see treating tobacco addiction as a priority for clinicians across the hospital, helping us to help smokers with the support and treatment they need.”
Source: About Manchester, 15 September 2020
** Sandra Mullin, senior vice president for policy, advocacy and communication at the global health organization Vital Strategies, and Mary T. Bassett director of the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University discuss the exploitation of African Americans by the tobacco industry.
They highlight how big tobacco is continuously trying to make people and policymakers believe that mentholated cigarettes are part of African American culture and that regulation is a discriminatory piece of legislation against Black people. They point out the industry markets more aggressively to Black communities and often market these toxic products as an “easier” and “safer” cigarette for first-time smokers.
They highlight that there is a misconception that Black people prefer menthol. However, this is a result of racist marketing. There are higher concentrations of tobacco retailers in the Black neighbourhood compared to white communities making it easier to advertise the addictive menthol products prominently. They call on policymakers to stop taking donations from the tobacco industry and deliver stronger regulations to end smoking-associated health inequalities.
They concluded by saying: “Tobacco use is a public health crisis… If we’re serious about addressing inequities, it’s time for the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] to ban menthol cigarettes and remove them from the marketplace once and for all.”
Source: The Hill, 15 September 2020
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** Heart attack patients who are irritable could be putting their health at risk, suggest new research.
The study included 2,321 heart attack survivors. Hostility was measured at baseline using the Multiple Adjective Affect Checklist (MAACL). Patients were followed for 24 months for recurrent heart attacks and death.
The average age of participants was 67 years, and 68% were men. More than half of the patients (57%) were scored as hostile according to the MAACL. The study found that patients’ risk of early death soared by 52% for each unit higher they scored on the MAACL. A high hostility score was still an independent predictor of death even after adjusting for other factors that could affect this relationship including sex, age, education, marital status, diabetes, high blood pressure, and smoking.
Dr Tracey Vitori of the University of Tennessee, the lead researcher said: “There is much cardiac patients can do to take control of their own health. From a physical side – smoking cessation, increase physical activity and eat a balanced diet. Our study also indicates that managing hostile behaviours could be important.”
Philippa Hobson, a Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “…This interesting study highlights how after a heart attack, people who hold less hostile characteristics such as irritability, tend to live longer. We know that many people cope with negative emotions by turning to unhealthy behaviours that increase their risk of heart diseases, like smoking, drinking too much, and eating junk food. There’s no doubt that finding healthy ways to manage stress and feeling calmer will have a positive impact on your life. Try doing something active like going for a walk or getting some fresh air when you’re feeling stressed.”
Source: The Sun, 15 September 2020
See also: The Telegraph -Irritable heart attack victims more likely to die from second attack, study finds ([link removed])
European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing: Hostility predicts mortality but not recurrent acute coronary syndrome ([link removed])
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