Habit (re)forming

(Jan 3, 2017)

Behavioural risk factors such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are significant drivers of mortality and morbidity. In 2014, the UK NHS estimated smoking to be responsible for 78,000 deaths, or 17% of all deaths recorded that year. By comparison, ONS statistics that year attributed around 8,700 deaths directly to alcohol, which on the same basis would therefore equate to around 1.9% of deaths. Whilst these estimates put the relative mortality impacts in context, they take no account of wider social consequences, which are clearly another important area of debate.

The growth in use of e-cigarettes might be considered a large-scale public-health experiment. Despite fears to the contrary, a recent…

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Tags: mortality, smoking, alcohol

Health Experiments

(Jun 17, 2013)

One interesting aspect of Scottish devolution is the different path charted in health policy.  Residents of Scotland have long had a shorter life expectancy than other parts of the United Kingdom, which is partly a function of greater smoking prevalence and poorer diet (amongst other deleterious health behaviours).  Greater alcohol (mis)use is another major problem area, and it is interesting to see some of the trailblazing public-health policies in recent years for alcohol and tobacco:

One obvious initiative - increasing the tax on alcohol,…

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Tags: Scotland, alcohol, tobacco, smoking

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