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The state of dementia in the UK, the merits of male HPV vaccination, and an EU bid to ban e-cigarettes

A round-up of the health news headlines on Friday 29 November

In an opinion piece in the Telegraph this morning, health secretary Jeremy Hunt makes the case for a UK-led G8 summit on dementia, which will declare a global commitment to tackling the disease and set out an action plan for doing so.

Mr Hunt highlights poor diagnosis rates and warns that dementia is expected to affect a million people in the UK by 2020. He also refers to his ‘state of the nation’ report which will for the first time publish an interactive map of dementia ‘hotspots’.

The Government is to investigate the merits of offering the HPV vaccine to boys as well as girls, the Guardian reports.

The plans, revealed in draft meeting minutes published by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), indicate the review willconsider whether vaccination would lower the risk of anal and throat cancers amongst men who have sex with men, as well as among the heterosexual population.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: ‘There are currently no plans to extend HPV vaccination to males, based on an assessment of currently available scientific evidence. Vaccination of boys was not recommended by the JCVI because once 80% coverage among girls has been achieved, there is little benefit in vaccinating boys to prevent cervical cancer in girls. 80% coverage for the full course of three doses of the vaccine was achieved in the first year of the HPV vaccination programme in 2008-09, and has since exceeded that level.’

And finally the Telegraph reveals a bid by the European Commission to outlaw electronic cigarettes and force them to be withdrawn from shelves across the UK.

A confidential negotiating document reveals plans to overturn a vote by MEPs that rejected an outright ban, because officials fear e-cigarettes may act as a ‘gateway to normal cigarettes’.

Martin Callanan, a Conservative MP, told the Telegraph: ‘Forcing e-cigarettes off the shelves would be crazy. It would remove a valuable support for people desperate to stop smoking and thus could potentially lead to needless deaths.’ A spokesperson for the European Commission declined to comment.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Forcing e-cigarettes off the shelves would, indeed, be crazy.

    But permitting tobacco companies to place large advert glamorizing the "vaping" lifestyle is surely done only to entice non-smokers (particularly schoolchildren - see http://peterenglish.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/on-e-cigarettes-and-smokeless-tobacco.html) into an addiction to nicotine.

    Sure, e-cigarettes should be available as a safer alternative for smokers, or to support them to quit; but advertising should be banned or at the very least tightly controlled.

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