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a smoking cessation consultation cbAugust 22 2017

The downward trend in people setting a date to quit smoking and in successfully quitting has continued, new statistics show.

 According to data collated by NHS Digital:

  • the number of people setting a quit date fell for the fifth consecutive year to 307,507 in 2016-17, a 15% decrease on 2015-16, and the fifth annual decline in succession;
  • the number of successful self-reported quitters at the 4 week follow-up also fell for the fifth consecutive year to 155,875, a decrease of 16% on 2015-16;
  • 72% (112,823) of self-reported quitters had their results confirmed by carbon monoxide (CO) validation.

General practice continued to be the most popular location to make quite attempts, with 115,460 attempts recorded. The community setting category recorded 99,175, followed by community pharmacy with 59,595 quit attempts.

The number of self-reported successful quit rates was 49% in general practice with 56,797 quitters, but ranged from 45% in community pharmacy to 62% in psychiatric hospitals. The self-reported quit rate has remained stable in recent years, at around 51%. Some 37% of people setting a quit date were confirmed as successful with carbon monoxide test validation.

NHS Digital’s statistics report ‘NHS Stop Smoking Services England, April 2016 to March 2017’ shows how the level of prescribing for smoking cessation products has fallen to 40% of its peak. There were 1.0 million items prescribed in 2016-17, compared to 2.1 million in 2006-07 and 2.6 million in 2010-11.

ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) said the latest figures “provide a valuable insight into how the progress made in fighting the tobacco epidemic is under threat from the erosion of funding to Stop Smoking Services.

“Local authorities are facing a challenging funding environment with allocations for public health shrinking and Stop Smoking Services are among the worst hit by funding cuts. However, reducing funding for smoking cessation is a false economy. NICE estimates for that every pound invested in smoking cessation £2.37 in benefits are generated.”

ASH Director of Policy Hazel Cheeseman called on the Government to “put its money where its mouth is” and support local authorities in funding the services. “The reduction in people using stop smoking services is disappointing. Despite impressive ambitions in the Government’s recently published Tobacco Control Plan these highly successful services have been left under-funded,” she said.

Links:
NHS Digital. ‘NHS Stop Smoking Services England, April 2016 to March 2017’    
ASH comment   

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