E-Cigarette Summit 2017 – Friday 17th November | Royal Society, London

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Since the inaugural meeting in November 2013, The E-Cigarette Summit has been at the forefront of taking forward the scientific and public health debate around e-cigarettes and broader harm reduction debates. The Summit has established itself as a neutral environment for scientists, policy makers, medical and public health professionals and stakeholders to come together and look at the latest scientific research and evidence on e-cigarettes and debate their impact. In 2013, the conversation was UK centric as the public health and policy communities sought to find an appropriate regulatory system for e-cigarettes that would reflect the opportunities for smokers without ignoring potential harms. In the intervening years, the UK has emerged as an active proponent for tobacco harm reduction alongside stringent tobacco control measures and now five years on the Summit welcomes scientists, public health professionals and policy makers from around the world who are looking to establish their own regulatory framework in the face of new nicotine products.

Alongside the latest evidence on the safety of e-cigarettes for users and bystanders, The E-Cigarette Summit will continue to address broader debates including evidence on “gateway” for youth and non-smokers, advertising and marketing, use in public places and the conflicts arising from the tobacco industry’s dual corporate ownership of tobacco harm reduction products and cigarettes. The role that e-cigarettes could play in ending or extending the smoking epidemic will remain one of the most fiercely fought debates in public health history.

For governments and policy makers/advisors, the weight of making the right decision cannot be underestimated. From outright bans, advertising restrictions to higher taxation; the way that each country introduces, interprets and implements legislation, including consumer and medical licensing routes, will have far reaching consequences. Setting the regulatory bar at the correct level, will be vital to harnessing the opportunities that e-cigarettes and reduced harm nicotine products could offer while remaining responsive to a tobacco control manifesto to reduce smoking related harm.

What questions will be explored?

The E-Cigarette Summit will include high level briefings from experts and encourages interaction through panel debates and open floor discussions. Questions will be explored in a balanced and objective environment allowing attendees to build their knowledge and share their viewpoints.

This year the summit will explore the latest research and evidence on the following areas:

  • The Continuum of Harm Reduction and different policy/regulatory approaches.
  • E-Cigarette safety and research
  • Nicotine health impacts including addiction
  • Dual use – how concerned should we be?
  • Heat not Burn and E-cigarettes – similarities and differences
  • Advertising restrictions – how to reach smokers and protect youth?
  • Medicinal Licensing – is this a viable route and where are the products?
  • What does the evidence say about gateway?
  • Are there health risks through second hand vapour for non-users?
  • If e-cigarettes are so good, why aren’t all smokers using them?

Who Should Attend?

In particular, this event will be relevant to:

  • Regulators and policy advisors
  • Scientific/research community
  • Smoking cessation practitioners/services
  • Health providers, health charities and health campaigners
  • Local Authorities and Environmental Health
  • Public health professionals and academics
  • Medical and health professionals
  • e-cigarette industry and broader stakeholders groups

This years summit welcomes many researchers from around the world, including many who are part of the UKCTAS network. Including; Professor Linda Bauld from the University of Stirling, Professor Ann McNeill from King’s College London, Dr Jamie Hartmann-Boyce from the University of Oxford and Professor Robert West from University College London. The summit will also feature inputs from the Department of Health, Public Health England and many more public health organisations. To see the full list of speakers click here.

Early Bird Rates are valid until Friday 20th October!

To register for this event or to find out more information, click here!

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Alcohol industry misleading the public about alcohol-related cancer risk – Research Report from LSHTM

The study identifies “denying, distortion and distraction” as main strategies!

The alcohol industry (AI) is misrepresenting evidence about the alcohol-related risk of cancer with activities that have parallels with those of the tobacco industry, according to new research published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review.

Led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine with the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, the team analysed the information relating to cancer which appears on the websites and documents of nearly 30 alcohol industry organisations around the world between September 2016 and December 2016. Most of the organisational websites (24/26) showed some sort of distortion or misrepresentation of the evidence about alcohol-related cancer risk, with breast and colorectal cancers being the most common focus of misrepresentation.

The most common approach involves presenting the relationship between alcohol and cancer as highly complex, with the implication or statement that there is no evidence of a consistent or independent link. Others include denying that any relationship exists or claiming inaccurately that there is no risk for light or ‘moderate’ drinking, as well discussing a wide range of real and potential risk factors, thus presenting alcohol as just one risk among many.

According to the study, the researchers say policymakers and public health bodies should reconsider their relationships to these alcohol industry bodies, as the industry is involved in developing alcohol policy in many countries, and disseminates health information to the public.

Alcohol consumption is a well-established risk factor for a range of cancers, including oral cavity, liver, breast and colorectal cancers, and accounts for about 4% of new cancer cases annually in the UK1. There is limited evidence that alcohol consumption protects against some cancers, such as renal and ovary cancers, but in 2016 the UK’s Committee on Carcinogenicity concluded that the evidence is inconsistent, and the increased risk of other cancers as a result of drinking alcohol far outweighs any possible decreased risk².

This new study analysed the information which is disseminated by 27 AI-funded organisations, most commonly ‘social aspects and public relations organisations’ (SAPROs), and similar bodies. The researchers aimed to determine the extent to which the alcohol industry fully and accurately communicates the scientific evidence on alcohol and cancer to consumers. They analysed information on cancer and alcohol consumption disseminated by alcohol industry bodies and related organisations from English speaking countries, or where the information was available in English.

Through qualitative analysis of this information they identified three main industry strategies. Denying, or disputing any link with cancer, or selective omission of the relationship, Distortion: mentioning some risk of cancer, but misrepresenting or obfuscating the nature or size of that risk and Distraction: focusing discussion away from the independent effects of alcohol on common cancers.

Mark Petticrew, Professor of Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and lead author of the study, said: “The weight of scientific evidence is clear – drinking alcohol increases the risk of some of the most common forms of cancer, including several common cancers. Public awareness of this risk is low, and it has been argued that greater public awareness, particularly of the risk of breast cancer, poses a significant threat to the alcohol industry. Our analysis suggests that the major global alcohol producers may attempt to mitigate this by disseminating misleading information about cancer through their ‘responsible drinking’ bodies.”

A common strategy was ‘selective omission’ – avoiding mention of cancer while discussing other health risks or appearing to selectively omit specific cancers. The researchers say that one of the most important findings is that AI materials appear to specifically omit or misrepresent the evidence on breast and colorectal cancer. One possible reason is that these are among the most common cancers, and therefore may be more well-known than oral and oesophageal cancers.

When breast cancer is mentioned the researchers found that 21 of the organisations present no, or misleading, information on breast cancer, such as presenting many alternative possible risk factors for breast cancer, without acknowledging the independent risk of alcohol consumption.

Professor Petticrew said: “Existing evidence of strategies employed by the alcohol industry suggests that this may not be a matter of simple error. This has obvious parallels with the global tobacco industry’s decades-long campaign to mislead the public about the risk of cancer, which also used front organisations and corporate social activities.”

The researchers say the results are important because the alcohol industry is involved in conveying  health information to people around the world. The findings also suggest that major international alcohol companies may be misleading their shareholders about the risks of their products, potentially leaving the industry open to litigation in some countries.

Professor Petticrew said: “Some public health bodies liaise with the industry organisations that we analysed. Despite their undoubtedly good intentions, it is unethical for them to lend their expertise and legitimacy to industry campaigns which mislead the public about alcohol-related harms. Our findings are also a clear reminder of the risks of giving the AI the responsibility of informing the public about alcohol and health.

“It has often been assumed that, by and large, the AI, unlike the tobacco industry, has tended not to deny the harms of alcohol. However, through its provision of misleading information it can maintain what has been called ‘the illusion of righteousness’ in the eyes of policymakers, while negating any significant impact on alcohol consumption and profits.

“It’s important to highlight that if people drink within the recommended guidelines they shouldn’t be too concerned when it comes to cancer. For accurate and accessible information on the risks, the public can visit the NHS website.”

The authors acknowledge limitations of their study including that there are many other mechanisms and organisations through which industry disseminates health-related information which they did not examine, although it is unlikely that the messages would be different.

The researchers also say there is an urgent need to examine other industry websites, documents, social media and other materials in order to assess the nature and extent of the distortion of evidence, and whether it extends to other health information, for example, in relation to cardiovascular disease.

 

Publication:
Mark Petticrew, Nason Maani Hessari ,Cécile knai and Elisabete Weiderpass. How alcohol industry organisations mislead the public about alcohol and cancer. Drug and Alcohol Review. DOI: 10.1111/dar.12596
1Cancer Research UK: Statistics on preventable cancers.
2Committee on Carcinogenicity of chemicals in food, consumer products and the environment (COC). Statement 2015/S2.
About the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine:
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is a world-leading centre for research and postgraduate education in public and global health, with more than 4,000 students and 1,000 staff working in over 100 countries. The School is one of the highest-rated research institutions in the UK, is among the world’s leading schools in public and global health, and was named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards 2016. Our mission is to improve health and health equity in the UK and worldwide; working in partnership to achieve excellence in public and global health research, education and translation of knowledge into policy and practice. http://www.lshtm.ac.uk

Society for the Study of Addiction – Annual Conference 2017

9th – 10th November 2017
Crowne Plaza, Newcastle, UK

Confirmed sessions include:

  • Sport & exercise in addiction and recovery with personal reflections from Clarke Carlisle.
  • End of life care for people with substance problems.
  • The psychedelic renaissance in addiction treatment.
  • Pathways to amphetamine type stimulant use.

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NEW for 2017: The ADDICTION DEBATE

‘This Society believes it is appropriate to expand the concept of addiction to behaviours such as internet use’

With Professor Robert West & Professor Mark Griffiths


SSA PhD Symposium 2017

New for 2017, the SSA’s PhD Symposium will be held the day before our annual Conference, in the same venue.

The SSA’s symposium for PhD students is now in its ninth year. This event aims to bring together PhD students studying addiction-related topics so they can network, present their work in a low-key, supportive environment and share their ups and downs. It welcomes full and part-time students, studying in a range of disciplines including social sciences, laboratory sciences and health services research. The day includes presentations from students at various stages in the PhD process and some close to or who have recently submitted their thesis.

There is a social event in the evening of the PhD Symposium, and throughout the day there is plenty of opportunity to talk to other delegates.

 

For more information about this event please visit: www.addiction-ssa.org/symposium

 

Report conducted at the University of Sheffield provides ‘clear and compelling’ new evidence on the effectiveness of minimum unit pricing.

Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

alcoholThe report, published by the Foundation for Liver Research, predicts that 32,475 of the deaths – the equivalent of 35 a day – will be the result of liver cancer and another 22,519 from alcoholic liver disease.

In its new report, Financial case for action on liver disease, endorsed by the independent Lancet Commission on Liver Disease, the Foundation for Liver Research urges the Government to implement a suite of policy measures designed to mitigate the rising health and financial burden of alcohol, including the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP), re-institution of alcohol duty escalator and advertising restrictions.

  • Between 2017 and 2022 the total cost to the NHS of alcohol-related illness and deaths will be £17 billion.
  • Study shows introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol could significantly reduce the burden.

Providing evidence in support of Government intervention, new modelling shows that within five years of its introduction in England, a 50p MUP alone would result in:

  • ian gilmore quote21,150 fewer alcohol-related deaths
  • 74,500 fewer alcohol-related hospital admissions
  • Savings of £325.7m in healthcare costs
  • Savings of £710.9m in crime costs

The total financial savings to the public purse of MUP is forecast to be £1.1 billion – the equivalent cost of the Government’s recently announced investment package for Northern Ireland.

Colin Angus, Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield and part of the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group who conducted the research, said:

“These new findings show there will be 35 deaths and 2,300 hospital admissions due to alcohol every day in England over the next five years. We estimate this will cost the NHS £17 billion at a time when healthcare resources are already overstretched. Our research also shows that policies such as Minimum Unit Pricing have the potential to significantly reduce this burden.”

Liver disease is one of Britain’s biggest killers, claiming about 12,000 lives a year in England alone. The number of deaths associated with it has risen by 400% since 1970. It is estimated that 62,000 years of working life are lost every year as a result of it. People who develop serious liver problems also suffer some of the worst health outcomes in western Europe.

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UKCTAS researchers awarded multi-million pound grant to tackle tobacco-related harm in Asia & Africa

UKCTAS and the Global Challenges Research Fund

UKCTAS researchers have been awarded a £3.4million grant from Research Councils UK to address tobacco-related harm in Asia and Africa. The programme will run for four years and aims to build capacity for tobacco control research in seven countries in South Asia and Africa.

GCRF-infographicLed by Professor Linda Bauld, UKCTAS Deputy Director based at the University of Stirling, this Global Challenges Research Fund grant provides an example of how UKCTAS is able to bring together members of the UK tobacco control research community to respond to an opportunity to address tobacco use in low and middle income countries.It involves six of the academic teams within the UKCTAS consortia and Cancer Research UK, one of the UKCTAS funders. CRUK is already very active in international tobacco control research.

Professor Bauld said:
Linda_Bauld_UKCTAS.png“UKCTAS has made an important contribution to informing policies and new developments to reduce smoking rates in the UK over the past decade, culminating in the very significant prevalence reductions we’ve seen in the past few years. This is testament to the links we have worked hard to forge with government, NGOs, advocacy groups, professionals and the public who have helped translate our research into practice. Our work on smokefree public places, tobacco taxation, mass media, smoking cessation & stop smoking services, electronic cigarettes & tobacco harm reduction, and our monitoring of tobacco industry activity has all fed into these changes.

Now through this GCRF programme we have a unique opportunity to help build capacity in 7 other countries, all in South Asia and Africa, adding to individual projects and links that UKCTAS members had already forged with some of these teams in recent years. A core element of our Centre has always been training and research development, from PhD through post-doctoral level, training professionals and engaging with stakeholders in the UK and Europe. Now we will be extending this through a substantial new programme of research and capacity building with a particular focus on tobacco taxation, the illicit trade and tobacco industry influence on policy. We will be working with the following list of senior researchers and their teams (below), as well as Alison Cox and her colleagues at Cancer Research UK, over the next four years. We are grateful to Research Councils UK for this opportunity.”

The UK co-applicants on the grant include: Professors John Britton and Andrew Fogarty (Nottingham), Professor Kamran Siddiqi and Dr Steve Parrot (York), Professor Jeff Collin (Edinburgh), Professor Anna Gilmore (Bath) and Professor Ann McNeill (Kings College).

International co-applicants include:

– Dr Wakgari Deressa, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
– Dr Muralidhar Madhav Kulkarni, Manipal University, India
– Professor Umberto Dalessandro, MRC Unit, the Gambia
– Dr Monika Arora, Public Health Foundation of India
– Dr Ellis Owusudabo, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
– Kellen Nyamurungi, CTCA, Makerere University, Uganda
– Dr Rumana Hugue, the ARK Foundation, Bangladesh
– Professor Corne van Walbeek, University of Cape Town, South Africa

 

Collaboration info-graphic showing the different organisations involved in the project:

GCRF-UKCTAS-Presentation-diagram

About the GCRF:

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) GCRFfullcolourResearch Councils UK Collective Fund is supporting projects in the range of £2 – 8 million over four years. It aims to build upon research knowledge in the UK, and strengthen capacity overseas, to help address challenges, informed by expressed need in the developing countries.

 

Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science, said:
“From healthcare to green energy, the successful projects receiving funding today highlight the strength of the UK’s research base and our leadership in helping developing countries tackle some of the greatest global issues of our time.

“At a time when the pace of scientific discovery and innovation is quickening, we are placing science and research at the heart of our Industrial Strategy to build on our strengths and maintain our status as science powerhouse.”

More information about this grant can be seen on the UKCTAS website.

Notes to editors

· Full list of research partners:
o UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS): Universities of Stirling, Nottingham, York, Edinburgh, Kings College London and Bath.
o Cancer Research UK
o The ARK Foundation, Bangladesh
o Manipal University, India
o The Public Health Foundation of India
o The University of Cape Town, South Africa
o Makerere University, Uganda
o The MRC Unit, The Gambia
o Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
o Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana

· More details on each of the 37 grants can be found in the Growing research capability to meet the challenges faced by developing countries brochure.

· Find out more about the Institute of Social Marketing: www.stir.ac.uk/health-sciences-sport/research/groups/social-marketing.

· Find out more about the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies: ukctas.net

· Find out more about Cancer Research UK’s international tobacco control programme: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/funding-for-researchers/applying-for-funding/funding-committees/international-tobacco-advisory-group

· Find out more about tobacco consumption via the World Health Organisation: www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/

UKCTAS comment on the latest tobacco control plan for England: “Towards a smoke-free generation”

The new tobacco control plan, ‘Towards a smoke free generation’ is a welcome restatement of the government’s commitment to reduce the prevalence, and hence the burden of death and disability caused, by smoking. The recognition that harm reduction strategies can play a key role in achieving these ambitions is applauded, and puts the UK at the forefront of global tobacco policy. However, the ambition to reduce adult smoking in England from 15.5% to 12% by 2022, representing as it does a reduction of 0.5 of a percentage point per year, is modest given that smoking prevalence has fallen by 2.9 percentage points in the last three years.

Recognising reducing smoking in pregnancy as a priority, and aiming to reduce prevalence in pregnancy to 6% or less, is welcome but will not be achieved without adequate resources, improved care pathways and addressing significant gaps in training for midwives and obstetricians. The commitment to make NHS inpatient mental health settings smoke-free by 2018 is long overdue, but it is disappointing that the same strong commitment is not extended to other NHS settings.

The ambition to make stop-smoking services more available is also welcome, but like the commitments to NHS settings and for pregnancy requires funding: when public health budgets are being slashed, how will local authorities afford to increase their smoking service provision?

What matters now is delivery: Action to achieve and exceed these ambitions is the next and crucial step

PDF of the Press Release

Photos from the UKCRC conference June 2017 – Progress & Pathways

The UKCRC Public Health Research Centres of Excellence are building academic capacity, increasing infrastructure and promoting multi-disciplinary working in public health research in the UK. The Centres are bringing leading research experts together with practitioners, policy makers and wider stakeholders to tackle complex public health issues.

The seventh annual UKCRC Centres conference was co-hosted by DECIPHer, Fuse, and the Centre of Excellence for Public Health Northern Ireland, in partnership with CEDAR, UKCTAS and SCPHRP. This year the event focused on the successes of the UKCRC initiative over the last nine years, showcasing the achievements of the public health research Centres in relation to three themes:

  • capacity development
  • systems change and partnerships; and
  • impact through innovation.

The one day conference was an opportunity for public health researchers, policy makers, practitioners and funders across the UK to exchange knowledge on world class research, innovative public health practices and successful collaborations. Researchers from UKCTAS presented at the conference on a number of different topic including, harm reduction, e-cigarettes, public engagement and development of the UK’s drinking guidelines.

Below are a few pictures from the event, more can be seen on our twitter feed.