BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 29 July 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:278

Two hundred million women smoke worldwide: The World Health Organisation reports that about 200 million women smoke, of whom 100 million are in developed countries. In the US and Britain about 80-90% of all lung cancers are caused by smoking, and lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer as the most common form of death from cancer among women.

UK agrees new voluntary agreement on tobacco advertising: Under the voluntary agreements between the UK government and the tobacco industry the industry has agreed to withdraw all posters carrying tobacco advertising within a radius of 200 m from schools, take down all permanent shop front advertising by the end of 1996, and produce clearer health warnings.

British men may get free prescriptions at 60: British men may be eligible for free prescriptions at 60 instead of 65 if ministers decide to implement a decision last week by the European Court of Justice that men and women should be treated equally. The cost of implementation is estimated at pounds sterling30m a year. The court also suggested that men should be able to claim back charges they had paid since 1985 if they were over 60.

New medical school at Imperial College: pounds sterling61m has been provided from the NHS, the Higher Education Funding Council, and Imperial College to form the new Imperial College Medical School from St Mary's Hospital, Charing Cross and Westminster, and the Royal Postgraduate Medical Schools and from the National Heart and Lung Institute. The school will have over 2000 students and 600 academic staff with the first intake in October 1998.

New act will strengthen safeguards for patients: The NHS (Amendment) Act will give the NHS Tribunal the power to suspend general practitioners from providing NHS services pending the outcome of inquiries when serious allegations have been made against them. They would be unable to practise as locums or deputies.

US imposes abortion insurance ban: The US House of Representatives has reinstated a restriction that would prevent government workers buying health insurance coverage for abortions.

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