Scotland Tops Smoking Prevalence in the UK

Smoking Percentage By Age Group By Country 2014 with figures.PNG

 

The latest survey findings by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that Scotland has the highest smoking prevalence aiming adult in the United Kingdom in 2014.

The Integrated Household Survey categorized the adult population into 5 age groups from young adult age group of 18-24 to old age of 65 and above. The survey also discovered that Scotland has the highest prevalence among the 35-49 and 50-64 age group.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and premature deaths in the UK. In 2012, more than 475,000 hospital admission is attributed to smoking related illnesses and has led to more than 75,000 deaths, majority of them within the age range of 35 and above.

This has prompted the government to implement  a range of measures from gazetting public areas as no smoking zones to increasing prices via tax hike to reduce smoking prevalence by 2034. The Scottish government has recently enforce a ban on smoking in cars with children to reduce exposure of second hand smoke which may lead to health complications.

England is recorded to have the highest smoking prevalence among young adults. This reflects previous reports by the ONS where students and graduates who are seeking jobs are twice as likely to develop smoking habits. Other contributing factors to this trend includes access to electronic cigarettes and flavored tobacco which has saw widespread use among young adults and experienced smokers.

Electronic cigarettes is currently recognized as a more healthier alternative to conventional cigarettes due to non emission of second hand smoke and low levels and other hazardous chemicals normally found in tobacco filled cigarettes. The public acceptance to this product is further bolstered by claims made by Public Health England which states that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than tobacco.

The UK government has recently considered including e-cigarettes as part of the National Health Services (NHS) stop smoking prescriptions. “The Government believes vaping is ­significantly less harmful than smoking. We encourage ­medicinal license applications”, said public health minister Jane Ellison in a report by The Mirror UK.

 The general pattern which can be observed from the survey findings is the decreasing in smoking prevalence which correlates with the progress of age. Smoking prevalence rate among the 18-24 age group is reduced by half among the 65 and above age group.

This reflects the increasing premature deaths among smokers and increased awareness of the health risks related to smoking.

Varenicline Most Preferred Quit Smoking Medicine

 

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Varenicline is deemed the most preferred smoking cessation drug to enable smokers to kick the habit. According to the latest statistics by the Health and Social Care Information Center, the National Health Service’s Stop Smoking Clinics carried out a pharmacotherapy involving the drug which has produced the highest number of smoking quitters. Out of the 44,742 participants who have been declared tobacco free, nearly one third (31%) received treatment involving the prescription drug widely known as Champix. This is followed by the combination of nicotine cessation products (NCP) which produces 30% of the successful quitters.

Varenicline treats smoking addiction by binding to nicotine receptors in the brain which is normally stimulated by presence of nicotine, the main chemical in tobacco products. Unlike nicotine, varenicline stimulates the receptors more weakly, reducing the rewarding pleasures of smoking while simultaneously alleviating withdrawal symptoms. Consecutive dosage from 7 to 14 days gradually decreases smoker’s dependence on tobacco.

NCP comes in the form of chewing gum, skin patches, inhaler, nasal spray and lozenges. While its mechanism of action is similar to varenicline, NCP largely consists of nicotine albeit in small doses compared to tobacco. This pharmaceutical intervention works by releasing low level nicotine into the bloodstream to gradually reduce smoking cravings. NCP is either applied as a single medication or in combination of two or more types of NCP.

Varenicline has been clinically proven to be more effective in inducing smoking cessation compared to combination of NCPs. According to clinical epidemiologist Prof Dr. Daniel Kotz who conducted a prospective cohort study comparing both pharmacotherapies, varenicline can be taken by smokers with minimal professional support and its low risk of adverse effects appealed more to aspiring quitters.  Furthermore, varenicline is more convenient compared to NCP combination which smokers need to take various forms of nicotine administration on a routine basis.

Buproprion is the least preferred choice of pharmacotherapy intervention due to its link with seizures and elevated blood pressure. Moreover, a significant amount of stop smoking patients who are pregnant and have serious alcohol dependence are advised from taking buprorpion as it will lead to severe health complications. The 1.95% of successful quitters due to combination of NCP with either varenicline or burpropion largely consist of heavy smokers. They normally require fast acting interventions such as inhaler and nasal spray to reduce cravings while simultaneously taking quit smoking drugs to gradually reduce stimulation of the nicotinic receptor, thereby reducing nicotine dependence.

UK Imposes 7th Highest Cigarette Tax Rate, WHO Reports

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The UK imposes 7th highest cigarette tax rate in 2014, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Global Tobacco Epidemic Report by the health organization stated that the country’s tax rate for 20 stick cigarette packet is the second highest in the EU at 82.13%, behind Bulgaria which imposes 82.65 tax rate.The island republic of Kiribati currently imposes the highest cigarette tax rate at 89.13%. Total cigarette tax comprises of excise tax, import duties, ad valorem, sales tax and other taxes. Imposing high cigarette tax rate is recommended by the WHO to reduce smoking prevalence and utilized to benefit the local economy. ‘Raising taxes on tobacco products is one of the most effective and cost-effective ways to reduce consumption of products that kill, while also generating substantial revenue,’ said WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan in a press release. The UK government’s decision to maintain high taxation rate for cigarette products for the past decade is in line with the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control treaty which was ratified back in 2005. Article 6 of the global health treaty requires increasing the sales price of tobacco products via tax hike and prohibiting sales of tax and duty-free tobacco products.According to HM Treasury, high taxation of cigarette products has generated £12.3 billion worth of revenue annually though the Tobacco Manufacturers Association argued that the measure is generating losses to the government due to more smokers resorting to smuggled products and purchasing on the black market. The WHO report also stated that 10% increase in cigarette price will reduce smoking consumption between to 2 to 8%. ‘Evidence from countries such as China and France shows that higher tobacco product prices linked to increased taxes lead to declines in smoking prevalence and tobacco-related harm, such as lung cancer deaths’, said Douglas Betcher from the WHO Department For The Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases.High taxation rate in certain countries reflects its high smoking prevalence. Kiribati has the highest recorded tobacco consumption rate of 74% in the Pacific region. According to tobacco control advisor, Ada Moadsiri, imposing tax hike on tobacco goods is part of the country’s Tobacco Free Pacific Campaign.” We have seen in New Zealand after they declared their tobacco free New Zealand goal for 2025 that tobacco use consumption is actually decreasing at an accelerated rate as they continue to implement tobacco control action, much like the ones that our Pacific Islands are doing now,” she said in an interview with Radio New Zealand International.

The UK imposes 7th highest cigarette tax rate in 2014, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Global Tobacco Epidemic Report by the health organization stated that the country’s tax rate for 20 stick cigarette packet is the second highest in the EU at 82.13%, behind Bulgaria which imposes 82.65 tax rate.

The island republic of Kiribati currently imposes the highest cigarette tax rate at 89.13%. Total cigarette tax comprises of excise tax, import duties, ad valorem, sales tax and other taxes. Imposing high cigarette tax rate is recommended by the WHO to reduce smoking prevalence and utilized to benefit the local economy. ‘Raising taxes on tobacco products is one of the most effective and cost-effective ways to reduce consumption of products that kill, while also generating substantial revenue,’ said WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan in a press release. The UK government’s decision to maintain high taxation rate for cigarette products for the past decade is in line with the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control treaty which was ratified back in 2005. Article 6 of the global health treaty requires increasing the sales price of tobacco products via tax hike and prohibiting sales of tax and duty-free tobacco products.

According to HM Treasury, high taxation of cigarette products has generated £12.3 billion worth of revenue annually though the Tobacco Manufacturers Association argued that the measure is generating losses to the government due to more smokers resorting to smuggled products and purchasing on the black market. The WHO report also stated that 10% increase in cigarette price will reduce smoking consumption between to 2 to 8%. ‘Evidence from countries such as China and France shows that higher tobacco product prices linked to increased taxes lead to declines in smoking prevalence and tobacco-related harm, such as lung cancer deaths’, said Douglas Betcher from the WHO Department For The Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases.

High taxation rate in certain countries reflects its high smoking prevalence. Kiribati has the highest recorded tobacco consumption rate of 74% in the Pacific region. According to tobacco control advisor, Ada Moadsiri, imposing tax hike on tobacco goods is part of the country’s Tobacco Free Pacific Campaign. “We have seen in New Zealand after they declared their tobacco free New Zealand goal for 2025 that tobacco use consumption is actually decreasing at an accelerated rate as they continue to implement tobacco control action, much like the ones that our Pacific Islands are doing now,” she said in an interview with Radio New Zealand International.