Issue date: 30 October 2003

ISSUE DATE: 30/10/03

Tobacco: Problems & Responses
An International Conference
The Watershed, Friday, November 28, 2003

Martin Plant, Professor of Addiction Studies in the University of the West of England, will be speaking at Tobacco: Problems and Challenges, an international conference organised by the University on 28 November 2003. He said: “Teenage smoking will lead to massive health problems for the next generation. Young girls are more likely to smoke than are boys. Health promotion is important, but this alone is unlikely to curb cigarette smoking among the very young. We need to police tobacconists and other retailers and to impose heavy penalties on those selling tobacco to underage children and adolescents if we are to attack this problem head on. Tobacconists should lose their right to sell tobacco if they flout the law in this way. Effective controls will take tighter and better organised law enforcement. Tobacco is the biggest avoidable health hazard. Every year tobacco smoking in the UK kills as many people as would die in 300 fatal jumbo jet crashes.”

November’s conference will provide an international platform to examine the nature and scale of problems caused by tobacco smoking. Leading researchers from around the globe will explore the problems and challenges faced by health professionals from different groups of smokers including adolescents, students and ‘hard core’ addicted or dependent smokers. Treatment options for addicted smokers will be discussed, together with topics such as ‘passive smoking,’ health and policy implications and the economics of tobacco.

The event, in association with two charities, the Alcohol & Health Research Trust and the Addictions Forum, brings together world acclaimed speakers including Professor Henk Garretsen of the Dutch Addiction Research Institute and Professor Sir Richard Doll, who was one of the pioneering researchers who first announced to the world the link between tobacco and cancer.

Professor Plant said, “This meeting will be of value to anybody with a personal or professional interest in smoking and its effects on health and society. Such people include smokers who are trying to quit, or contemplating quitting as well as medical practitioners, nurses and other professionals in the health and social services. This conference should also be of interest to those involved with health promotion and the implementation of policies to reduce smoking and to protect people from its effects.

“Tobacco smoking causes over 120,000 premature deaths in the UK each year. This is a much greater toll than that inflicted by the heavy or problematic use of all of the other legal and illicit drugs combined. Tobacco dependence is not only the most common type of drug dependence; it also carries a particularly great risk of fatal outcome.”

The World Health Organization has recently reported that tobacco use is the major single cause of the annual worldwide toll of 1,200,000 cases of cancer. Half of those who are regular smokers will be killed by this habit. There are also major concerns that tobacco companies are 'dumping' high tar cigarettes and promoting them in unethical ways in developing countries. This conference has been arranged to review trends in tobacco smoking and related health problems, together with the economic impact of tobacco, treatment options, and the role of the general practitioner in primary prevention, as well as policy options and political considerations.

To register it advisable to book a place soon by calling Jan Green on 0117 344 8788, Fax 0117 344 8421, e-mail: Jan.Green@uwe.ac.uk.


Editor’s notes

The Addictions Forum

The Addictions Forum, a membership organisation, exists to foster a balanced discussion about alcohol, tobacco, illicit and prescribed drugs, together with issues such as risk-taking and HIV/AIDS. The Forum arranges an annual residential training event at Durham Castle. It has also staged conferences and other meetings throughout the UK as well as in Iceland, India, Ireland and the Netherlands. The Addictions Forum is a registered charity (1015523).

The Alcohol & Health Research Trust (A&HRT)

The A&HRT was established to carry out research into beverage alcohol, together with other social and health issues. The latter include tobacco, illicit and prescribed drugs, HIV/AIDS, risk taking and sexual behaviour; to publish and disseminate information for the benefit of researchers, clinicians, professionals, students, and others concerned with the above themes; to work in co-operation with researchers, students and professionals concerned with alcohol or other social or health issues, to assist researchers, students and others in the conduct of their work related to alcohol or other social or health issues. Members of the research team have produced over 200 scientific publications, including over 20 books. The A&HRT is a registered charity (SC027580).

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