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    General practice pharmacist scheme evaluation indicates ‘improved capacity’ as the main benefit

    Tuesday, 31 July 2018 15:31
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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
More inWhite Papers  

smokingquitNovember 4 2015

Action on Smoking and Health has launched a tool mapping smoking propensity to health inequalities and poverty levels across England.

The ‘local poverty calculator’ can be used to show local authorities how many people in their area are in poverty because of smoking. It also shows what impact smoking cessation services can have on helping to reduce rates of poverty.

ASH has incorporated national data published in June showing that 5 million households in England include an adult smoker, and 1.4 million (27%) of these households are below the poverty line. “An estimated 418,000 households could be lifted out of poverty if they quit smoking,” says ASH. “These households comprise roughly 1.1 million people including 325,000 children and 156,000 pensioners. On average households that include a smoker spend £2,158 a year on tobacco.”

Using the tool, local authorities will be able to see what the figures mean for them and can also access a health inequalities toolkit giving advice on how local authorities and the NHS can reduce smoking rates among those experiencing health inequalities.

Professor John Moxham, Professor of Respiratory Medicine at King's College London School of Medicine, has called on the Government to support local authorities to end “unacceptable inequalities”. He commented: “Smoking disproportionately affects the most disadvantaged in society and is one of the major reasons that poorer people get ill and die younger. Smokers from poorer backgrounds tend to start younger and are more likely to become more highly addicted, with their addiction contributing to ongoing poverty.”

ASH chief executive Deborah Arnott said: “Smoking puts poorer families under significant financial pressure. This in turn places a burden on local services and negatively impacts the local economy. Investment in services is vital to reduce smoking prevalence. This will not only save lives but it will put money back into the pockets of the poorest households.”

Another initiative is highlighting the need for better help for people with mental health problems who wish to quit smoking. The Centre for Mental Health says that “people with a long-term mental health condition are three times more likely to smoke than average in England. And people with schizophrenia have a life expectancy 15-20 years shorter than average, partly because of smoking-related illnesses.

“Smokers with a mental health condition are just as likely to want to quit as those without.”

It has joined forces with ASH, other charities and medical leaders in calling for people with mental health conditions to be offered the right support, based on NICE guidance.

CMH Chief Executive, Sean Duggan, said: “There is good evidence that smoking cessation support can be just as effective for people with a mental illness as for those without. For too long, poor physical health among people with a mental illness has been ignored and neglected. It is time we put evidence into practice and offered people the help they want and need to quit.”

Links:

ASH ‘Local poverty calculator’ announcement

Centre for Mental Health announcement

ASH Smoking and mental health tool kit

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