Tobacco displays banned

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New legislation came into effect on Friday to protect children from being the target of tobacco promotion and to help people quit smoking.

From today, all large shops and supermarkets in England will have to cover up cigarettes and hide tobacco products from public view.

Evidence shows that cigarette displays in shops can lure young people to start smoking. More than eight million people in England still smoke – it is one of biggest preventable killers causing more than 80,000 deaths each year. Nearly two-thirds of current and ex-smokers say they started smoking before they were 18.

Up until now, every time parents do their weekly shop their children are exposed to tobacco, making it a normal part of everyday life. Statistics show:

•    5% of children aged 11-15 are regular smokers;

•    More than 300,000 children under 16 try smoking each year

•    39% of smokers say that they were smoking regularly before the age of 16.

Covering tobacco displays will protect children and young people from the promotion of tobacco products in shops, helping them to resist the temptation to start smoking. It will also help and support adults who are trying to quit.

Health Minister Anne Milton said: 'We cannot ignore the fact that young people are recruited into smoking by colourful, eye-catching, cigarette displays. Most adult smokers started smoking as teenagers and we need to stop this trend.

'Banning displays of cigarettes and tobacco will help young people resist the pressure to start smoking and help the thousands of adults in England who are currently trying to quit.'

Jo Butcher, programme director of health and well-being at the National Children's Bureau, said: 'National Children's Bureau welcomes the end of tobacco displays.

“Children and young people tell us that outside influences make it even more difficult for them to choose healthier lifestyles. A yet to be released National Children's Bureau health survey has found that more than one in four young people felt they needed more information about the health effects of drugs, alcohol or tobacco.

'It's essential that we create a culture that promotes and protects public health and tobacco legislation is a significant factor in making this happen.'

Cigarettes and all tobacco products will have to be out of sight except when staff are serving customers or carrying out other day-to-day tasks such as restocking.  Those responsible in shops not complying with the law could be fined up to £5,000 or could face imprisonment



Smoking Cessation through Dental Setting in Brief

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The Role of the Dental Team

Dr. Abdulreza Maadi

Randomized, controlled trials the world over show dental teams using brief interventions can help patients stop smoking.  Clinical research shows that the oral health team can double, triple or quadruple patients smoking cessation rates by routinely using simple, brief interventions. In general health care setting can offer an especially attractive environment for engaging patients in tobacco cessation. The dental visit is on average substantially longer than a physician visit, thus offering potentially greater opportunity for intervention. Dentists can easily recognize oral signs of tobacco use, inform patients, advise them to quit and refer them to the available smoking cessation centers. The role of dentists become of greater significance knowing that the use of tobacco products can lead to serious adverse oral health, as well as general health consequences. Tobacco use is one of the most significant causative/contributing factors for both oral cancers and periodontal diseases. Oral disease treatment results are also not as successful with tobacco-using patients.

Smoking cessation interventions in the dental setting seek to help the dental team recognize the key role it plays in informing and helping patients to quit. Well-versed dentists can inform their patients of the negative effects of smoking on their oral health and motivate them to seek quit services. In a successful intervention, the dentists would be able to refer their patients to the smoking cessation services where they can be helped with quitting through evidence-based efficient techniques. Thus in brief, the objectives can be defined as:

- Motivating the patient to quit

- Referring the patient to a smoking cessation center


New Information on Smoking and Breast Cancer

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Smoking not only increases the risk of lung cancer, but breast cancer too. Is it nicotine or some other component in cigarette smoke that boosts the risk? Find out what a new study shows about smoking and breast cancer.

Most people know that smoking causes lung cancer, but what about other types of cancer – like cancer of the breast? A new study sheds light on this issue. According to new research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the nicotine found in cigarettes directly stimulates growth of breast cancer cells. One more reason to kick the habit.

Smoking and Breast Cancer: Does Smoking Cause Breast Cancer?

Scientists at Taipei Medical University identified a receptor called the nicotinic acetycholine receptor, or nAchR that binds to the nicotine in cigarettes – and plays a role in cigarette addition. Breast cancer cells also have this receptor and when nicotine binds to it, it stimulates growth of breast cancer cells. They discovered that breast cancer cells “overexpress” this receptor, which means they produce more – allowing more nicotine to bind to tumor cells – which speeds up the rate of cancer growth.

Breast Cancer and Smoking: Is It Only Nicotine?

Although many studies show smoking is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer, scientists have never been sure whether nicotine or other chemicals in cigarettes were responsible for the increased risk. Women who have mutations in genes that cause them to be at high risk for breast cancer, and teenagers who start smoking early in life seem to be particularly susceptible to effects of smoking on breast tissue. This new study suggests that nicotine plays a role in stimulating breast cancer growth – although other chemicals in cigarettes may be important too.



Study shows nicotine spray helping smokers quit

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Smokers have discovered an innovative new mouth spray which is helping them kick the habit.

It’s part of an Otago University study to test the effectiveness of taking nicotine mouth spray, together with patches. The spray kills a smoker’s craving for a cigarette.

The study, based in Christchurch and Wellington, is aimed at testing the effectiveness of using patches which release a small continuous dose of nicotine, together with the mouth spray. It reduces cravings within minutes.

Those behind the study say it’s so far proven very successful – half of the smokers involved gave up within three months. That rises to 65 percent at six months. Some giving up have only been having a placebo, because only half taking part are getting the active spray.

The organizers are looking for more people to take part. They don’t know yet when the spray will be on the market.



Smoking during pregnancy affects genes involved in brain development

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CHARLOTTESVILLE — New research from the University of Virginia Health System shows that nicotine use during pregnancy affects genes important in the formation and mechanism of myelin, a fatty brain substance that insulates brain cell connections in regions of the brain associated with neurobehavioral development.

The findings, presented earlier this month at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, may explain why the children of mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to develop such psychiatric disorders as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, autism and drug abuse.

Researchers found that when rodents were given nicotine during pregnancy, their offspring showed changes in myelin genes in specific regions of their brain's limbic system – structures involved with emotion. The effect was strongest in the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain important for decision-making.

"Our research shows that gestational treatment with nicotine significantly modifies myelin gene expression in specific brain regions that are involved in behavioral processes," says Ming Li, a professor in the U.Va. Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, who led the study. "Myelin deficits have been observed in adults with various psychiatric disorders. Our findings suggest that abnormal myelination may contribute to the psychiatric disorders associated with maternal smoking."

Previous research has shown that maternal smoking during pregnancy has various long-lasting neurobehavioral effects on offspring, Li said. Many psychiatric disorders associated with smoking during pregnancy begin or change symptomology during adolescence, a period of continuous development of the central nervous system. Most of these disorders are thought to be mediated by dysfunction of the limbic system, a collection of brain nuclei that mature during adolescence.

Li's research team also identified gender differences in nicotine's effects. Myelin-related genes increased in the prefrontal cortex of the male offspring but decreased in the females. The opposite was observed in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, a brain region involved in the regulation of stress and appetite, among other functions.

"These findings suggest that maternal smoking may affect daughters and sons differently," Li said.

In addition, the substantial and long-lasting changes by the low dose of nicotine administered to rodents in the study imply that nicotine replacement therapy during pregnancy may carry many of the same risks to children as does smoking during pregnancy.

"While further studies are necessary to determine a direct correlation of our initial findings," Li said, "our research lends weight to the necessity of educating women to smoking during pregnancy.


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