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Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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quit smokingJuly 8 2015

The number of smokers in Scotland attempting to quit fell 31% in 2014 to 73,338 recorded quit attempts, down from 105,950 quit attempts in 2013. However, the figure for 2014 are likely to be revised upwards when late data submissions are received says the Information Services Division of NHS Scotland.

Its annual report on smoking cessation services in Scotland shows that most supported quit attempts were made through pharmacy services, accounting for 71% of quit attempts. This is the same level as in 2011, but down from the 76% rates seen in 22012 and 2013. The figure is also lower than the most recent figures for England, where 81% of quit attempts were made via pharmacies.

Although specialist non-pharmacy cessation services saw fewer clients, they had higher quit rates at both one and three month follow-up. Pharmacy services in Scotland were also less likely to record follow-up data.

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) remained the most common intervention, being used in 82% of quit attempts. However, “the way that NRT is used in aiding quit attempts is changing. Between 2009 and 2014, use of a single NRT product dropped from 69% to 35% of those using drug therapies, while use of more than one product increased from 9% to 47%,” says the report.

“Among different drug treatments used to support quit attempts, the highest one month quit rate (59%) was for quit attempts using varenicline. The highest three month quit rate (33%) was also for attempts using varenicline.

“Quit attempts using no drug therapy resulted in quit rates higher than both NRT for both one month and three months quit rates. Quit rates for drug treatment were higher in specialist (non-pharmacy) services than in pharmacy settings, with the exception of NRT plus varenicline use.”

Community Pharmacy Scotland issued a statement in response to the figures. “While we are encouraged that over 70% are still occurring through the community pharmacy network, we note with concern the 31% drop in patients accessing services overall,” it said. “We do recognise this is not unique to Scotland and there are many factors contributing to this decline.”

CPS is calling for a reform of the smoking cessation service “to ensure the access of the pharmacy network provides can be maximised and utilised by the public who wish to quit.” This should include:

  • national advertising of the smoking cessation service
  • increased collaboration with other smoking cessation service providers
  • revisiting the current service specification to allow professional flexibility to ensure the patient is at the centre of the service
  • an increased focus on support for community pharmacies providing services in deprived areas

“We would urge Scottish Government to work with Community Pharmacy Scotland and other stakeholders to ensure that the ambitious vision for a Tobacco-free Scotland by 2034 is one that the pharmacy network can continue to play a fundamental role in achieving,” said CPS.

Links:

ISD ‘NHS Smoking Cessation Services (Scotland)’ 2014    

CPS statement    

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