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‘E-cigs’ research: It is not cancer we should be worried about

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By Lee Thomas

Lee.Thomas@Herald.email

THE RISK of e-cigarettes has been the subject of public debate around health since their development, but scientists this week have carried out research that show electronic cigarettes could be no better for our health than normal cigarettes.

The research study, which was published in the Journal of Oral Oncology, has claimed to show that during lab tests the vapour from the electronic vaporisers may cause damage to human cells.

The new research came after David Cameron and other UK public health officials supported the use of ‘e-cigarettes’ (vapourisers) to help people quit smoking.  Cameron told the House of Commons this month that he believed they were “a very legitimate” way of improving health, after a report from Public Health England stated vaping causes 95% less harm than smoking tobacco.

The Herald met with Professor Paul Lewis, who heads the Respiratory Diagnostics Group at the Medical School in Swansea University.  Professor Lewis, who has lived in Llanelli all of his life, told the Herald that he agrees that further research is required into the potential harmful effects of e-cigarettes.

He explained: “There’s few experts who doubt that smoking e-cigarettes is much less risky than smoking regular cigarettes. This is particularly the case for lung cancer. Most of the carcinogens, the chemicals that cause cancer, present in regular cigarette smoke are not found in the vapour of e-cigarettes.”

Whilst the vapour does not produce the chemicals that cause cancer, new studies like this recent one are appearing which suggest the negative effects that some vapourisers may cause, including damage that may lead to other very life threatening diseases.

Professor Lewis highlighted to the Herald that it is not just cancer we should be concerned with here.  He continued: “We are starting to see increasing concerns in the scientific community about the safety of e-cigarettes. The main concern is that we don’t know if smoking e-cigarettes causes other respiratory diseases, particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In the UK alone, COPD kills over 25,000 people annually and the cost to the NHS to treat patients is now about £1 billion per year.”

With tobacco remaining one of the greatest public health hazards, it is clear that e-cigarettes have been very successful in helping smokers quit smoking normal cigarettes, and helping lower the risk of cancer especially in recent years.

Professor Lewis explained: “Although there are great benefits of smoking e-cigarettes to reduce the risk of cancer, we still need to know any association with these other life changing and very costly diseases.”

Around 240 new flavours of e-liquids and 10 new brands are introduced each month, and as we see a range of new ‘fun’ and ‘appealing’ flavours such as ‘bubble gum’ and ‘fruit punch’ hitting the market, we don’t know the extent of the damage the different chemicals in these new e-liquids will cause once they are vaporised.

With new products constantly being available to the public, the public must be weary that a lot of these products have not been tested and regulated indefinitely, and although the risk of cancer is lost when smoking e-cigarettes, the lungs may fall harm to other very serious diseases.

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Further childcare hub opening in Llanelli

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AN additional childcare hub has opened in Llanelli this week (w/c Monday, May 25) due to increasing demand to provide care for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

It will be located at Ysgol Ffwrnes in Llanelli and follows the opening of an extra three hubs at Bryn Primary School in Llanelli, Model Primary School in Carmarthen and Ysgol Tycroes.

It is important that numbers are kept low at the hubs to ensure the health and safety of both the children and staff.

Parents are being reminded to keep their children at home where possible to help contain the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19). However, if you are a critical worker, and your child cannot stay at home, then your childcare will be prioritised.

Parents should only apply for childcare to cover their working hours; and are also being reminded to please cancel as soon as possible if they no longer need the provision.

Please note the timetable for applications to the childcare hubs has also changed, and that applications now close at 5pm on the Wednesday of the week before.

Unfortunately, we will no longer be able to consider any applications made after deadline. Due to the significant increase in demand for places at our hubs we must make sure they are staffed sufficiently. The health and safety of both staff and pupils is vital and has to be our main priority.

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How Wales created 19 new field hospitals in less than 8 weeks…

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Across Wales the Welsh Government is supporting the NHS to create new field hospitals and rapidly increase bed capacity.
Health boards have repurposed existing buildings, including the Principality Stadium, a holiday park and even a television studio to provide an additional 6,000 beds.Field hospitals are designed to support the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic by providing extra bed capacity but they will also help normal hospital services be restarted and support social care services.Last month, the first patients were admitted to Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig at the Principality Stadium, in Cardiff.

Four to six weeks

Here is how Wales almost doubled its bed capacity in less than eight weeks…The time it has taken to nearly double hospital bed capacity in Wales, creating field hospitals across the nation.

19 field hospitals in Wales
This includes the repurposing of Bluestone Holiday Park and Parc y Scarlets in west Wales and Venue Cymru in north Wales.

1,500 beds at the Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig
Making it one of the largest field hospitals in the UK.

Five days
The length of time it took to plan Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig, which overlapped with the build phase.

3,000
The number of planning hours, involving more than 20 different disciplines, it took to plan Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig.

£166m
Welsh Government funding for the set up, construction and equipment for field hospitals in Wales.

138,000
The number of pieces of equipment have been provided to help support field hospitals, including beds, imaging equipment, syringe drivers and medicines.

Three North Wales field hospitals have the name Enfys
Meaning rainbow – the symbol of hope and thank you to the NHS during the pandemic.
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7-year-old Mattie from Pembrey takes on home Pen y Fan-tastic challenge for Action for Children

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Plucky Mattie Denman will climb the equivalent of Pen y Fan in the drive at her family home in Pembrey on Friday 22nd May to raise funds for Action for Children.

Mattie (7), has always wanted to climb the highest mountain in South Wales and is unable to currently because of the coronavirus pandemic.  As the family exercise at home every day, she decided she wanted to do the 6-mile equivalent journey there while she waits for the chance to do it for real.  Mattie chose Action for Children as her mother, Sian, works for the charity in Carmarthenshire.

Mattie said: ‘My Mammy works for Action for Children and I want to help as well because lots of families need help.  My older brother and sister help Action for Children, so I asked Mammy if I could do something. We exercise everyday walking up and down the drive and I have always wanted to climb Pen y Fan, but we have never done it.

‘Mammy said I could pretend I am walking it and people will give money to the charity. I said brilliant, that is what I am going to do and I am super excited to do it. I will use mammy’s step counter and I hope I can help children that need support especially because it is so hard for some families because of coronavirus.’

Proud mum and family support practitioner for Action for Children, Sian, added: ‘Mattie has a lovely heart and really wanted to do something and I’m very proud she chose Pen y Fan as her home challenge.  Action for Children has been going the extra mile during the coronavirus pandemic continuing to support vulnerable families through phone and video sessions as well as food and help with the basics from our Emergency Appeal Fund. 

‘It is a tremendously challenging time for our families and every bit of money will directly help those in our communities who need it most.  I hope as many people as possible will donate to Mattie’s brilliant fundraising effort, it’ll make it even more special when we finally get to climb Pen y Fan for real.’

If you want to support Mattie’s Pen y Fan challenge please go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mattiesclimb

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