News and Notes

Compiled by Susan Savva

Ten-point plan for smoking cessation

A national plan for smoking cessation has been developed in the United States by the government agency, Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health. Details were published in the February 2004 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The report outlines ten recommendations for reducing premature deaths and disease, including evidence-based population-wide strategies such as a national ‘quitline’ and an increase in excise tax of $2 on a pack of cigarettes. The tax is estimated to bring in $28 billion, half of which would go towards funding parts of the plan.

Other recommendations include universal access to smoking cessation programmes, adequate training to ensure that effective cessation treatment is provided, public information campaigns, insurance coverage to encourage cessation among people covered by federal insurance programmes such as Medicare and Medicaid, and programmes for treating tobacco dependency. Health insurers and employers would be encouraged to foster tobacco cessation efforts as part of their benefits, and provide for the effective use of tobacco dependency treatment.

Smoking risks graphically portrayed

A hard-hitting advertising campaign by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) drawing attention to the impact of smoking on the heart has been judged a success. The powerfully distasteful image of a cigarette dripping fat and a clogged-up artery shocked 65,000 visitors in a month into consulting the BHF website for advice on how to quit, making it the second most consulted site in the UK healthcare sector ( being the first).

The first phase of the campaign ended on 31 January, with the showing of the final television advert and the removal of posters from 2500 billboards around the country. A formal evaluation is now underway, but initial feedback  is  promising,  says  the  BHF.  The  microsite ( will remain online for the duration of the three-year campaign. In addition to the fat-dripping image, it features tips on quitting, facts about the damage smoking causes, a ‘totaliser’ for calculating the cost of smoking and an anti-smoking tetris game, designed to keep people's hands busy whenever they have a craving to smoke.

Underpinning the campaign is Smoking Statistics, produced as a result of collaboration between BHF and ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), which brings together statistics on the burden of smoking in the UK, in particular highlighting the risk of cardiovascular disease. In 2000, around 30 600 people in the UK died from cardiovascular disease caused by smoking. The publication contains four sections. The first presents data on health risks, including the latest mortality estimates. The second covers patterns of smoking, and shows trends in UK smoking prevalence over the past 30 years. The third section has data on passive smoking, including current levels of exposure in the UK and public awareness of, and attitudes towards, the subject. And the final section is concerned with smoking cessation.

Launch of a new European information resource

The ELISAD Gateway on Drugs and Addictions is an extensive online catalogue of evaluated websites about addictions, drugs and alcohol from 32 European countries. For many years a gap has existed in information transfer and institutional networking across Europe, especially between countries in eastern and western Europe. Now a unique web resource has been designed specifically in response to this need. The Gateway database provides English language content descriptions and evaluations for over a thousand interactive web resources (with more being added all the time) in the area of drug addiction, searchable by keywords, country, or organisation. Main topic areas include:

  • • addictive behaviour and substance use
  • • economics and trafficking
  • • education and prevention
  • • treatment and services
  • • policy
  • • research
  • • history and culture

Quality is assured by pre-established selection criteria based on checklists for authorship, goals, scope, content, and presentation. Scientific and expert monitoring is carried out by the University of Bremen and EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction). An editorial committee supervises revisions, and feedback is actively sought from users.

The gateway is primarily intended for ATOD professionals such as researchers, educators, prevention workers, treatment and therapy practitioners, policy makers, and information producers and publishers. The project has been established and developed over two years through ELISAD (the European Association of Libraries and Information Services on Alcohol and other Drugs) and is supported by the European Union.

The ELISAD Gateway is online at


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Having wintered in a warmer climate our columnist is now back on duty and as ever questing for those manifestations of human frailty which she believes to be rampant in the addictions field.

Iggy writes:

ICAP (the soi-disant International Centre for Alcohol Policies) is an organ of liquorspeak which has over recent years caused me so much mirth as almost to deserve a column in its own right. Please give us more about those hilarious ICAP people, my readers implore.

I’m commenting now on a book ICAP has recently put out, Haworth & Simpson's Moonshine Markets: Issues in Unrecorded Alcohol Beverage Production and Consumption. Given its provenance, I understand that it is a text which, as a matter of policy, Addiction will not be reviewing. Coy? Nothing on the title page to reveal that this is a drinks industry production, nothing either on the back cover, where we are assured that the book is ‘groundbreaking’, ‘important’ and possessed of ‘far reaching implications’. But get to the Foreword and there, in a small-print footnote on p. xi, is the admission that ICAP is funded by the drinks industry. Footnote! Small print! Oh, fetch me a chair for my imminent collapse!

In that foreword the ICAP directorate tell us that they have ‘consciously elected not to include an industry perspective’. Given the admitted fact that Ronald Simpson, one of the book's two editors, was previously vice-president of Corporate Scientific Affairs at Seagrams, it is difficult to believe that ICAP was totally keen to avoid any ‘industry perspective’. Help! I am splitting my sides!

As an iguana, I’m not capable of commenting on the scientific worth of what, to the casual eye, looks like prepilot survey material, and I’m certainly not going to drift into  reviewing.  But  I  get  the  feeling  that  ICAP needs monographs more than the world needs ICAP monographs.

The coyness, that really does leave me prostrate with laughter. Why not declare straight out on the title page ‘A book instigated, funded and fingered by the drinks industry?’ Conflict of interest should be prominently declared, not relegated to a footnote.


Recovery Works. Current Trends in Addictions Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation. 1st Asia Pacific Institute of Addictions, 30 May–3 June 2004, Singapore. In association with ICHC, APSAD and NCETA. Contact: Secretariat on Tel. +65  63795261; Fax: +65 64752077/6436. E-mail:; website:

Alcohol: Global Pressures, Local Concerns. 30th annual alcohol epidemiology symposium of the Kettil Bruun Society. Hosted by STAKES, University of Helsinki and NAD. Helsinki, Finland, 31 May–4 June 2004. Contact: KBS 2004 Symposium Secretariat, STAKES, Alcohol and Drug Research, PO Box 220, 00351 Helsinki, Finland. Fax: +358 93967 2170. Website:;

UK Alcohol Treatment Trial. A conference to present the results of UKATT, the largest multicentre study of psychosocial interventions in the alcohol field, funded by MRC, comparing a motivational treatment with a social network treatment. 3 and 4 June 2004. Queen's Hotel, City Square, Leeds, UK. Contact: Christine Weatherill, Tel. +44 (0)113 295 1333; e-mail:

66th Annual Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico. 12–17 June 2004. Contact: Conference Secretariat, Tel. +1215 7073242; e-mail:

Bridging the GAP. 1st European Alcohol Policy Conference in the context of a larger Europe. 16–19 June 2004. Presented by Eurocare in collaboration with the European Commission, World Health Organisation, European Youth Forum, European Cultural Foundation and Polish Agency for Prevention of Alcohol-related Problems. Hotel Europejski, Warsaw, Poland. Contact: Florence Berteletti Kemp, Eurocare, 96 rue des Confédérés, 1000 Brussels, Belgium. Tel. +32 2732 6782 or 736,0572; Fax: +32 2736 7351; e-mail:

Tobacco Control Policies in the European Union. Conference organised by the Office of Tobacco Control to coincide with Ireland's presidency of the European Union. 17–18 June 2004, University of Limerick, Ireland. Contact: http://www.otc.i.e./communication_events.asp

27th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism. 26 June–1 July 2004, Vancouver, Canada. Contact: Debby Sharp at; website:

17th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety. 8–13 August 2004, Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Glasgow. Contact: Meeting Makers, Tel. +44 (0)141 434 1500. E-mail:; website

Crossing Boundaries: implications of advances in basic sciences for the management of addiction. Addictions 2004 conference, 24–26 September 2004, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Contact: Claire Norris, Addictions 2004 conference secretariat, 51 Kestrel Way, Wokingham RG41 3HA, UK. Tel. +44 (0)118 377 4696; Fax: +44 (0)118 977 6680. E-mail:

12th World Congress on Biomedical Alcohol Research. ISBRA 2004. 29 September–2 October 2004. Mannheim/Heidelberg, Germany. Contact: AKM Congress Service GmbH, Haupstrasse 18, D-79576 Weil am Rhein, Germany. Tel. +49 (0)7621 98330; Fax: +49 (0)7621 78714. E-mail:; website:

Visions for the Future: empowerment, integration, interaction. 47th international conference of International Council on Alcohol and Addiction (ICAA). 391 October–5 November 2004, Venice, Italy. Contact: Conference Secretariat, Tel./Fax: +43 263033230. E-mail:

Australian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) conference. Fremantle, Western Australia, 14–17 November 2004. Contact:

Annual Symposium of the Society for the Study of Addiction. 18–19 November 2004, Royal York Hotel, York. Contact: Christine Weatherill, Tel. +44 (0) 113 295 1333; Fax: +44 (0) 113 295 1320; e-mail:

News and Notes welcomes contributions from its readers. Send your material to Susan Savva, News and Notes Editor, Addiction, National Addiction Centre PO48, 4 Windsor Walk, London SE5 8AF. Fax: +44  (0)20  7703  5787; E-mail:

Subject to editorial review, we will be glad to print, free of charge, details of your conference or event, up to 75 words and one entry only. Please send your notification three months ahead of time and specify in which issue you would like it to appear.