In brief

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 25 June 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g4177

Cases of liver cancer soar: The number of men and women in England with liver cancer diagnoses increased by 70% and 60%, respectively, from 2003 to 2012, figures from the Office for National Statistics have shown. Liver cancer is now the 18th most common cancer in England, and the increase is thought to be related to cirrhosis, obesity, or hepatitis B or C infections. The incidence of malignant melanoma rose by 78% among men and by 48% among women over the same period.1

Smoking in pregnancy drops to all time low: The proportion of women in England who said that they were smokers at the time of giving birth fell to 12% (75 910 of 632 960) in 2013-14, down from 12.7% (83 490 of 658 110) the previous year and continuing a steady decline from 15.1% in 2006-07, figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre have shown.2 The government aims to reduce smoking in pregnancy to 11% by the end of 2015.

Khat is made illegal in UK: The chewing plant khat has been made illegal in the United Kingdom despite advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs—which informs the government—that such a move would be inappropriate and disproportionate. The plant will be a class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, making it illegal to import, sell, or possess.

California rejects sugary drinks warning: A bill that would have made California the first state in the United States to require warning labels on sugary drinks failed to get the votes it needed from the Assembly Committee on Health to make any further progress. Certain sodas, energy drinks, and fruit drinks would have included a label that read, “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

Jamaica plans to decriminalise marijuana: Jamaica’s government has unveiled plans to decriminalise marijuana possession in quantities of less than two ounces (57 g) and to permit the drug’s use for medicinal and scientific purposes and in Rastafarian religious ceremonies. The new law, expected to be in place by September, makes Jamaica the fourth jurisdiction in the Western Hemisphere to decriminalise marijuana, after Uruguay and the US states of Colorado and Washington. Chile is currently debating decriminalisation. Canada and 22 US states have medical marijuana programmes.


Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g4177


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