31/05/2005

Stop smoking help services to be extended

The government has announced plans to increase NHS Stop Smoking Services, so that people can access them from supermarkets and pubs as well as healthcare facilities.

Public Health Minister Caroline Flint announced the plans at the launch of the World Health Organisation’s World No Tobacco Day, which is being marked for the first time in England this year.

Speaking at the launch, Ms Flint said: “Giving up smoking is the single best thing anyone can do for their health. We know that government action alone is not going to make people give up, it is the individual themselves who needs to make that decision to protect their health and the health of their loved ones. Doctors, nurses and pharmacists enjoy a high degree of public trust and their regular contact with those with smoking related conditions puts them in a prime position to provide the support they need to give up for good.”

Ms Flint said that there had been a “consistent increase” in the number of people successfully giving up smoking through NHS services. According to Department of Health figures, there was a 63% increase from 2003 – 2004 and a 31% increase from 2002 – 2003.

The Department of Health said that smokers were up to four times more likely to succeed in quitting if they used one-to-one or group counselling sessions alongside free nicotine replacement therapy on prescription.

Ms Flint said: “The problem of smoking related disease is not confined to one country or one continent – it is a global issue that can be tackled by learning from the success of others. By helping people give up smoking we can prevent serious diseases such as cancer and heart disease and will help to save thousands of lives each year.”

According to the Department of Health, smoking causes over 100,000 deaths each year and treating smoking related diseases costs the NHS around £1.7 billion a year.

(KMcA/SP)

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