The manufacturing or importing of packs of cigarettes with fewer than 20 cigarettes per pack was prohibited in the UK when the EU Tobacco Products Directive and standardised packaging legislation were fully implemented in May 2017. This change was aimed at reducing the affordability of cigarettes and thereby discouraging young people from smoking. This directive also required the removal of branding and established a standard shape and dark green colour for packaging, including pictorial health warnings, which prevented the use of packaging for promotion and reduced its appeal.
This blog post was written by Dr Saffron Karlsen, (Senior Lecturer in Social Research, University of Bristol)
On the last weekend of May 2020, much of the world watched with horror scenes of US urban disturbances in response to the death of George Floyd – another Black person killed in police custody. On the other side of the pond, many in the UK also awaited the release of an official report into the higher rates of infection and death of Black and other ethnic minority people from COVID-19.
Delays and disappointment
This Public Health England (PHE) report was heralded as an opportunity to finally provide answers to questions we’d had since evidence of these inequalities first emerged. The inquiry’s lead, Professor Kevin Fenton, described the pressing need for open discussion, to listen to the views of people from Black communities and those who worked with them to find out what was producing these inequalities.
Unfortunately, the report which was finally released is very far from fulfilling these ambitions. It does not provide a detailed investigation of the drivers of these ethnic inequalities and includes very little new information from which to make sense of these patterns.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, major agricultural companies and charities have chartered flights to urgently bring in tens of thousands of Bulgarian and Romanian agricultural workers. Flights have headed to places like Karlsruhe and Düsseldorf in Germany, along with Essex and the Midlands in the UK.
This comes after farmers in both countries warned there is a real risk that thousands of tons of produce might be left to rot – further affecting food supply chains – if vacancies for agricultural workers go unfilled.
The excessive demand for food during lockdown has meant that farm labourers are classed as key workers, which is why they are being flown to the UK and other Western European countries.
Josh Torrance (PhD student and Assistant Teacher, School for Policy Studies)
Much of this research is based on personal emails and conversations with the police and other agencies. As such, not all of the facts presented are referenceable.
Covid-19 will present a major challenge to both drug users and drug treatment agencies over the coming months. There are 320,000 problematic drug users in the UK, many of whom have weaker immune systems than the general public – and therefore a diminished chance of recovery from the virus. People who inject drugs and street homeless communities are at particular risk; viral infections spread quickly through these populations. On the face of it, the pandemic might seem like a fantastic opportunity for problematic users to become drug-free, but the reality is much more complex.
Dr Adam Trickey, Senior Research Associate in Population Health Sciences, University of Bristol
Injecting drug use is a global issue: around the world an estimated 15.6 million people inject psychoactive drugs. People who inject drugs tend to begin doing so in adolescence, and countries that have larger numbers of adolescents who inject drugs may be at risk of emerging epidemic s of blood borne viruses unless they take urgent action. We mapped the global differences in the proportion of adolescents who inject drugs, but found that we may be missing the vital data we need to protect the lives of vulnerable young people. If we want to prevent HIV, hepatitis C, and overdose from sweeping through a new generation of adolescents we urgently need many countries to scale up harm reduction interventions, and to collect accurate which can inform public health and policy. Continue reading
Debbie Watson, Professor in Child and Family Welfare, University of Bristol
Helen Ball, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab, Durham University
Jim Reid, Senior Lecturer, Department of Education and Community Studies, University of Huddersfield
Pete Blair, Professor of Epidemiology and Statistics, University of Bristol
The baby box in Finland is embedded as part of the maternity system. Kela
Having a baby can be expensive. So it’s maybe not surprising that many retailers around the world have cottoned on to the success of Finland’s baby boxes – a package aimed to set up new parents and their bundle of joy. The Finnish boxes include baby clothing, sleep items, hygiene products and a parenting guide –- as well as a “sleep space” for the baby.
Many retailers around the world are now offering similar boxes for expectant parents. Indeed, research conducted at the University of Tampere in Finland suggests there are variants in over 60 countries. This includes Scotland’s baby box scheme – with all newborn babies getting a free baby box from the Scottish government.
But as a group of child welfare experts, we believe imitations of the Finnish boxes could be placing babies at risk. This is because it has become common to believe that if babies sleep in these boxes, it will help protect them from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Unfortunately, the research does not back this up. Continue reading
Public health is one of the most contested policy areas. It brings together ethical and political issues and evidence on what works, and affects us all as citizens.
Researchers produce evidence and decision-makers receive advice – but how does evidence become advice and who are the players who take research findings and present advice to politicians and budget-holders?
We were pleased to welcome a diverse audience of around 75 multidisciplinary academics, policymakers and practitioners to hear our seminar speakers give a range of insider perspectives on linking academic research with national and local decisions on what to choose, fund and implement.
In this blog post we summarise the seminar, including links to the slides and event recording. Continue reading
By Takver from Australia [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikime
The Green Paper on preventing ill health was published in July 2019, and many have criticised that proposals do not go far enough. Our guest blog explores some of the challenges that Public Health England face in providing evidence-informed advice. Read on to discover the reflections from a recent workshop on using evidence to influence local and national strategy and their implications for academic engagement with policymakers. Continue reading
NHS managers could do with a facelift. Cure the NHS with far fewer managers and It is nurses working at the coalface of the NHS that we need, not more bosses are commonplace headlines. And cynicism about NHS managers is not limited to the media. Two years ago, the then minister for health, Jeremy Hunt, wondered whether the NHS had made a mistake in the 1980s “by deliberately creating a manager class who were not clinicians”. Both Labour and Conservative governments have tried (unsuccessfully) to reduce their number. Continue reading
The UK has the fourth highest prevalence of drinking in pregnancy in the world. This puts a significant number of people at risk of a group of conditions known as foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Until now, though, the prevalence of FASD in the UK has not been known. Continue reading