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Flu season for schools, ‘life saving’ e-cigarettes and a ‘back injury time-bomb’

The BBC has revealed that, for the first time, the annual Flusurvey surveillance project will be collecting data from UK classrooms, as under-18s had the highest rates of infection in 2012-13.

The scheme coincides with childhood flu vaccinations for children aged two and three and those with long-term health conditions, which this year will be extended to children aged four to 11 in Scotland, and seven pilot areas in England

The project’s leader, Dr Alma Adler from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: ‘This year we’re keen to find out more about children because they are the “key spreaders” of flu’

Also from the BBC is a report that health psychologists from UCL have claimed that electronic cigarettes could save ‘literally millions of lives’.

Speaking at the 2013 E-cigarette Summit, Professor Robert West said: ‘The big question, and why we’re here, is whether that goal can be realised and how best to do it, and what kind of cultural, regulatory environment can be put in place to make sure that’s achieved’.

In the UK, an estimated 700,000 smokers are using e-cigarettes as an alternative, or alongside traditional cigarettes which are estimated to cause more than five million deaths worldwide each year - and 100,000 in the UK alone.

Rounding off the day’s news is a report in the Telegraph that Britain’s children are facing a ‘back injury time-bomb’ related to spiralling computer and smartphone use.

Lorna Taylor, a physiotherapist who helped with the research, said technology is having a ‘detrimental effect on our children’s musculoskeletal health’ – the study revealed ‘more than two thirds of primary school children had reported back or neck pain over the course of a year’.