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Southport & Mersey Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 17 September 2007

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ACCORDING to research released, on 14 September, 2007 by Keep Britain Tidy, England has seen a massive 43% rise in smoking-related rubbish since the 1 July 2007 'Smoke Free' legislation came into force. At the same time, sales of Ashcan (; the first portable ashtray to retail nationally; are steadily rising, with over 250,000 distributed in the first 3 months of production.  Ashcan is featured in Keep Britain Tidy’s 2007 advertising campaign on smoking litter, and Tesco is supporting the initiative by stocking Ashcans in over 750 stores across the UK. This month sees Keep Britain Tidy launching phase 2 of its drive to increase public awareness and reduce cigarette littering following the ban.

In a recent survey of councils, 83% have reported an increase in cigarette-related litter in their towns and cities since the ban. Grievances from members of the public have also risen; over a 3rd of councils received more complaints about cigarette butts littering the streets. Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act, smokers can be fined up to £80 on the spot for dropping a cigarette end in a public space.

Retailing at just £1.20, Ashcan is unlike any other personal ashtray currently on the market. Its ingenious design means that it fits neatly into a cigarette packet and the aluminium casing and flame retardant plastic caps means users needn’t extinguish their cigarette first, they simply remove the air-tight lid and insert the lit butt into the tube. Ashcan is fully reusable and recyclable and stores up to three butts, after which they can be safely and easily disposed of, no smell, no mess.

Managing director, Lucy McNeill, says:- “These new statistics make worrying reading and we need to act now before the situation worsens.

Cigarette litter is not confined to England alone and, as smoking bans are rolled out globally, it is set to increase internationally.

We must educate the public and protect our environment.”

10 local councils in England will be participating in the Keep Britain Tidy campaign and advertising will appear on billboards, buses, washrooms and other sites throughout these participating towns and cities in an effort to encourage smokers to dispose of their cigarette litter responsibly. Visitors to Tesco stores in these areas will be able to claim a free Ashcan during sampling days throughout September and October.

McNeill continues:- “Smokers are getting the rap for other people’s rubbish and we would urge everyone to make an effort for the sake of the environment.

Carrying an Ashcan in in your cigarette packet is an incredibly easy way of enjoying your habit as well as protecting the local environment.

We aim to see an Ashcan in every smoker’s cigarette packet, the planet needs it and the market is ready to act responsibly.”

In-depth UK study on heart problems leads to warning for young adults with gum disease

THE UK's leading dental health charity has warned that young people must take care of their teeth if they are to avoid heart problems in later life.

The British Dental Health Foundation was speaking after an in-depth UK health study (published in the medical journal, 'Heart') found that young adults who lose their teeth to decay or gum disease are considerably more likely to die from heart disease in later life.  The study, led by Dr. Yu-Kang Tu of the University of Leeds, followed more than 12,000 UK adults for up to 57 years, and revealed that those with a large number of missing teeth in young adulthood were one third more likely to die of heart disease than those with fewer teeth missing.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, commented:- "The Foundation has long held the view that a person's oral health has a major effect on the rest of the body and there is mounting evidence to support that view. 

People need to adopt a good oral healthcare routine for the good of their whole body as well as their mouth and that should include twice daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste, cutting down how often they have sugary foods and drinks and visiting the dentist regularly, as often as the dentist recommends.

Cleaning between the teeth is also important and should be done once a day using floss or interdental brushes."

The findings of the study are based on 12,631 men and women who had medical and dental exams as college students in the 1940s through 1960s. They were then traced through the UK National Health Service until 2005, during which time 1,432 died.  Scientists believe that the bacteria in the mouth that causes tooth decay and gum disease may enter the bloodstream and damage the blood vessel lining, or trigger inflammation in the body which leads to heart disease.

Dr Carter continued:- "A common problem is that many people only consider the aesthetic importance of good oral healthcare and as a result, if they are not overly concerned with the appearance of their smile, they may let their oral healthcare slide. 

However, as this study shows, failing to take care of your teeth from a young age can lead to far bigger problems later in life.  Anyone who is concerned about their oral health should ask their dentist for advice, while being careful to maintain a good oral healthcare routine on a day to day basis."

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