Daily news - 4th January 2018

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UK news

Alcohol can cause irreversible genetic damage to stem cells, says study

Link between drinking and cancer clarified by study which indicates alcohol causes cancer by scrambling DNA in cells, eventually leading to mutations | Guardian, UK

5 live daily - BBC radio iPlayer

"There's been a 25% reduction in the investment in drug and alcohol treatment in this country since 2013 and that's having a dramatic impact on people who need treatment." Listen to Paul Hayes speaking on @bbc5live [starts at 1:38:55] | BBC, UK

Warning: Lethal dark web cocaine hits UK streets

UK cocaine users have been warned against the rise of super-strength product sold on the dark web for as little as £40 ($54) a gram | IBTimes, UK

More drug than drink drivers caught behind the wheel at Christmas

More drivers in Cumbria were found to be positive for taking cocaine and cannabis, than drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel over the Christmas period | ITV, UK

Yorkshire patients call for a inquiry into the prescription of addictive legal drugs

There are calls for a public inquiry into the prescription of legal drugs which can be as addictive as heroin and cocaine | ITV, UK

Evaluation of a complex healthcare intervention to increase smoking cessation in pregnant women: interrupted time series analysis with economic evaluation

To evaluate the effectiveness of a complex intervention to improve referral and treatment of pregnant smokers in routine practice, and to assess the incremental costs to the National Health Service (NHS) per additional woman quitting smoking | BMJ, UK

Comparing the cancer potencies of emissions from vapourised nicotine products including e-cigarettes with those of tobacco smoke

Quantifying relative harm caused by inhaling the aerosol emissions of vapourised nicotine products compared with smoking combustible tobacco is an important issue for public health | BMJ, UK

Identification of flavour additives in tobacco products to develop a flavour library

This study combines chemical analysis and flavour descriptions of flavour additives used in tobacco products, and provides a starting point to build an extensive library of flavour components, useful for product surveillance | BMJ, UK

ASA Ruling on Diageo Great Britain Ltd

A Snapchat lens advertising Captain Morgan, seen in June 2017, included a cartoon icon of a pirate. The lens, which made the user’s face look like Captain Morgan, featured two glasses of a mixed alcoholic drink clinking together on screen, a seagull that flew a scroll on to the screen, which said “Live like the Captain”, a voice-over that said “Captain” and the sound of people cheering | ASA, UK

Cambridge stabbing: Abdul Korim Ali denies James Cromwell murder

A man stabbed a childhood friend in the heart because he believed he was "stealing customers" in a drugs turf war, a court has heard | BBC, UK


International news

Potential deaths averted in USA by replacing cigarettes with e-cigarettes

US tobacco control policies to reduce cigarette use have been effective, but their impact has been relatively slow. This study considers a strategy of switching cigarette smokers to e-cigarette use (‘vaping’) in the USA to accelerate tobacco control progress | BMJ, UK

Californians can now buy marijuana for recreational use

On 1 January, California became the sixth US state to make marijuana legally available for recreational use. Because the state is the nation’s most populous, the move could hasten cannabis’s legalisation across the US | New Scientist, UK

The Golden State’s new pot laws are almost comically progressive

On a hazy January morning, scores of cannabis enthusiasts queued outside MedMen’s elegant West Hollywood store to celebrate the first day they could legally purchase the drug without a medical licence | Economist, UK

Mike Tyson to open 40-acre marijuana resort in California

It will be known as 'Tyson Ranch' | Independent, UK

Medicinal cannabis: Australia aims to become top exporter

The nation plans to change its regulations to join Canada and the Netherlands in selling products beyond a domestic market. Uruguay and Israel have announced similar plans | BBC, UK

Codeine ban sparks consumer complaints and fears of stockpiling

Pharmacy Guild of Australia says consumers unhappy about over-the-counter ban that will apply from 1 February | Guardian, UK

There are more quitters than smokers in Ireland

One in eight people who smoked this time last year have since quit | Journal, Ireland

Life course socioeconomic position, alcohol drinking patterns in midlife, and cardiovascular mortality: Analysis of Norwegian population-based health surveys

Socioeconomically disadvantaged groups tend to experience more harm from the same level of exposure to alcohol as advantaged groups. Alcohol has multiple biological effects on the cardiovascular system, both potentially harmful and protective | PLOS journal, Norway

Opioid use may lead to suicide in elderly

A new study published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics suggests that suicidal ideations and suicide attempts are linked to opioid use and pain sensitivity in the elderly | Medical Xpress, USA

Liquor industry pressure puts abrupt stop to unique alcohol warning-label project in Yukon

'I’ve always wondered … why is it consumers don’t get that (alcohol-health) information? Well, here’s the answer: governments are afraid to give it' | National Post, USA

Mass drug overdoses the new norm, says David Caldicott

Video. Dr David Caldicott, emergency doctor and senior lecturer in medicine at the Australian National University, discusses the suspected overdose of nine people in Perth | abc.net.au, Australia

Medicinal cannabis: Ministry of Health advised against decriminalisation for those in chronic pain

The Ministry of Health advised against decriminalising medicinal cannabis for those in chronic pain, saying it would lead to major issues over its legal definition | NZHerald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

You can tell by the smallness of the glass how precious the contents were’: wine glass size in the 19th century

As part of their Christmas 2017 edition, the British Medical Journal published a fascinating article looking at ‘Wine glass size in England from 1700 to 2017’ and asking whether ‘downsizing can reduce alcohol consumption. The answer, based on a range of studies, seems to be yes – but that’s not the focus of this post | Wine as Was, UK