#WorldNoTobaccoDay: Linda Bauld and the road to standardised tobacco packaging @bmj_latest

“The road to standardised tobacco packaging in the UK”

Every year in the United Kingdom around 200 000 children start smoking. Half of those who try a cigarette will become regular smokers, putting themselves at risk of tobacco related diseases that can shorten their lifespan by at least a decade. Because of this, the UK and other governments have implemented a range of tobacco control measures over many years, which are intended to both prevent smoking uptake and encourage smoking cessation. Key among these have been measures to restrict the ability of the tobacco industry to market their products to new and existing smokers.

Firstly, traditional forms of advertising such as TV and billboards were banned, followed by sports sponsorship, and, most recently, point of sale displays in shops. All that was left was tobacco packaging: a way to communicate to consumers the appeal of the product and to promote different brands.

My team at the University of Stirling has conducted research on tobacco marketing for many years, funded by Cancer Research UK. Most recently we undertook our own studies on tobacco packaging, and then in 2011 were commissioned by the Department of Health to review all the evidence on plain or “standard packs.” Our review provided the basis for a UK consultation on the issue. At the time we found 37 studies, conducted in different countries and using a variety of research designs. Their findings were consistent. The studies showed that standard packs are: less appealing, increase the visibility and effectiveness of health warnings, and reduce the ability of packaging to mislead people about the harms of smoking.


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Drink and Drown #SeasideSafety

Brighton & Hove City Council have released a seaside safety web series that tells the story of young people having fun on a night out drinking alcohol. The video is aimed at day and night time drinkers who are between 18 -25 years old.

The mix of alcohol and sea swimming is the most deadly of cocktails with cold water acting as a shock to the system. The shock can be the precursor to drowning. Anything below 15 degrees is defined as cold water and can seriously affect your breathing and movement.

#7cancers campaign raising awareness of alcohol related harm!

In the latter part of June, Balance North East launched a four-week campaign highlighting the links between alcohol and cancer.

The campaign focuses on the links between alcohol and seven different types of cancer:
• Pharyngeal (upper throat)
• Mouth
• Oesophageal (food pipe)
• Laryngeal (voice box)
• Bowel
• Breast
• Liver

The #7cancers campaign features TV advertising, media relations, digital and social media activity.

Over 800,000 people in the North East are drinking above the daily recommended limits and increasing their risk of developing seven types of cancer.

Visit their Facebook page or check out www.reducemyrisk.tv to find out more.

You don’t need to be a heavy drinker to be at risk of the harms associated with alcohol. Drinking a pint of beer or a standard glass of wine every day can increase the risk of seven types of cancer.