Posts tagged Smoking
The Department of Health is trying to prove that although it can spend more money than the GNP of a small African nation on a dysfunctional patient database, it is up to speed with the world of mobile technology. They have produced an iPhone app to help patients quit smoking and surprisingly it, well, actually works (as an App I mean, I couldn’t attest to its impact). There are prominent hints and tips about kicking the habit and a few nice scary facts (in red, no less) to try and keep the underlying fear factor above the “can’t be arsed” threshold. By far the best feature however is the timer that starts from the second you quit and then tracks how much money you have saved. If nothing else I recommend non-smokers to download it and start the counter for that nice warm smug feeling you get when you see how much of your cash hasn’t gone up in smoke. I will have to restrain myself from shoving it in the faces of smokers and laughing though….
As ever, the best piece of writing (in my humble opinion) from over the weekend comes from the “Bad Science” blog. Ben Goldacre’s mind is hardwired for statistics, and this week he has turned it to the oft touted health benefits of smoking, and in particular, protection against Alzheimers. He discusses a recently published systematic review which – surprise surprise (and I’m sure I’m not spoiling it for anyone here – hey? what? smokings bad! You don’t say) – shows that the risk of alzheimers is increased in smokers. The really interesting part however, if you are into this sort of thing, is the analysis of papers where the researchers were associated with the Tobacco industry. Now that is a surprise I won’t spoil.
As ever the Scottish Parliament do their best to nose ahead of Westminster in their implementation of forward thinking policies. The recent vote at Holyrood in favour of banning cigarette displays is now closely followed by the Department of Health publication “A Smokefree Future” outlining strategies to control tobacco in England. Little nuggets like banning smoking in doorways would be welcome, although would probably be as effective as the mournful ghostly voices from the tannoys outside Ninewells telling a legion of deaf smokers to put out their fags. “Fresh air garden” indeed (how exactly do you grow fresh air??). The Guardian has a good piece on how far the proposals go eg. stopping short of banning smoking in cars, but also give voice to the pro-smoking campaign. There is little to comment about their position as I think most intelligent free thinkers can come to their own conclusions about their arguments. “Got to die of something” and “free will” are crackers and always makes me think we should encourage unsheathed Stanley knives in primary schools to prove a point.
|The Scottish Government voted 108 vs 15 to ban the open display of cigarettes in Scottish stores, the BBC News website reports|
The Tobacco and Primary Medical Services Bill will also ban cigarette vending machines and introduce a registration scheme for retailers.
BBC News Website
Large stores have until 2011, smaller stores until 2013, to remove all displays of cigarettes and vending machines.
Opposition leader John Drummond of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation is quoted as saying:
The evidence that this will actually stop young people smoking just isn’t there
John Drummond, Scottish Grocers’ Federation
Good grief, man. When did we start to need evidence about such obvious measures? Out of sight, out of mind, anyone? I think it’s a fantastic piece of legislation, but I hope just the start. In some parts of America, where smoking has been banned in public places for some time, smokers are looked on with disdain, and perhaps a bit of pity; in the UK we’re still making jokes about smokers standing out in the rain…
Dropping smoking rates might put me out of a job, but it’ll take 20 years, so my pension is safe. I jest – I would be overjoyed if every smoker in the country stopped today, and lung cancer all but disappeared from routine medical practice. I’m sure the cardiologists feel the same about ischaemic heart disease.
Scotland certainly leads the rest of the UK in this, I’m not sure about the rest of Europe…..