Friday, 30 May 2014

'Booze & Fags' culture: New report on cancer and deprivation: Cancer Research UK and NCIN

Last week we had a report that Hyndburn was in the top 10 areas for alcohol related deaths. This week a report form Cancer Research that levels of deprivation correlate to tobacco related diseases. 

There is no doubt there is a fags and booze culture in this area. An acceptance that excessive drinking is good and smoking is a pleasurable activity. The reality is of course is both run a very high risk of related illnesses and premature death. In short, they are both killers. 

That is why I support plain packaging (called for by Cancer Research) and minimum unit pricing of alcohol. Ot's not just the personal consequences for the individual but also their family and particularly their children. GPs are telling me they are seeing people with early symptoms of  illnesses in people in their 40's they would normally expect to see in people in the 60's.

There is an economic impact too. This area cannot afford to have a swathe of workers struck chronically ill or sick, dependent on the council, public services, the NHS and the state. The reality is employers want a healthy workforce.

From: Harriet Adams [mailto:Harriet.Adams@cancer.org.uk]
Sent: 29 May 2014 16:51
To: JONES, Graham
Subject: New report on cancer and deprivation: Cancer Research UK and NCIN

Dear Mr Jones,

A new report from Cancer Research UK, in partnership with the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN), has revealed that more than 19,000 excess deaths are linked to levels of deprivation each year in England. An excess death is the difference between the number of deaths observed in more deprived groups and the number of deaths that would have occurred in that group if it had the same death rate as the least deprived population.

The report also found that every year there are more than 15,000 cancer cases linked to economic deprivation and that we need major action if we are to reduce the number of people receiving a cancer diagnosis linked to deprivation.

The findings reveal the extent of cancer deaths linked to deprivation for the first time. This research informs the need for more action to reduce tobacco use in the UK. The report demonstrates that smoking-related cancers have the strongest association with deprivation. Click here for an infographic showing how many cancers can be prevented. You can also read our blog on the report here.

Visit cruk.org/localstats for information about cancer, including smoking rates, in your local area. The local stats website allows you to compare your local area with other areas and the national average.

Action on tobacco-related health inequalities:

Tobacco use is the UK’s single greatest cause of preventable illness and avoidable death[1],[2]. There is also a significant financial burden - parental smoking perpetuates and exacerbates child poverty[3], by taking up a substantial proportion of disposable income and replacing expenditure on basic necessities such as food and clothing[4]. In 2009 the cost of ‘smoking attributable premature mortality’ to the UK was equal to 4.39% of GDP[5].

That’s why comprehensive tobacco control is needed at national and local level – which includes standardised packaging of tobacco products to help prevent children from starting to smoke. Click here for a short parliamentary briefing on the evidence for standardised tobacco packaging and the experience in Australia so far. The full briefing is here.

The Government commissioned an independent review of the evidence for standardised packaging of tobacco products, undertaken by paediatrician Sir Cyril Chantler. In his report (April 2014), he concluded that it is ‘...highly likely that standardised packaging would serve to reduce the rate of children taking up smoking and implausible that it would increase the consumption of tobacco’. Sir Cyril included a chapter on illicit tobacco in his report and concluded ‘I am not convinced by the tobacco industry’s argument that standardised packaging would increase the illicit market, especially in counterfeit cigarettes’[6].

Cancer Research UK, along with a coalition of more than 250 health and wellbeing organisations is calling urgently for standardised packaging regulations in this parliament. 63% of the public supports standard packs with only 16% opposed. 85% backs Government action to reduce the number of young people who start smoking (YouGov 2012). 54 academic studies consistently demonstrate that standard packs reduce the appeal of smoking[7]. This one minute unscripted video indicates how children react to existing packs.

I hope you will support standardised tobacco packaging when you have the opportunity. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like to arrange a meeting.

Kind regards,

Harriet Adams
Public Affairs Officer
Policy Department
Cancer Research UK

Tel | 020 3469 6058

The Angel Building | 407 St John Street | London | EC1V 4AD
www.cruk.org | @CR_UK