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ASH & CRUK Tobacco Control Report 2019

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ASH & CRUK Tobacco Control Report 2019

ASH and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) have published their sixth annual report looking at local tobacco control and smoking cessation services in England. The report presents the findings of a survey of tobacco control representitives from all local public health authorities in England.

This report presents the findings from an online survey of tobacco control leads in local authorities in England. Findings include that many opportunities exist for local authority commissioners of tobacco control and stop smoking services to build on their past successes and improve their local offer. These include joint working with colleagues in other local authority services, partnering with the NHS (now newly engaged in smoking cessation thanks to the Long Term Plan), and pursuing population approaches within Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships and Integrated Care Systems.

Their Key findings are summarised below:

  • In 2019, 69% of surveyed local authorities in England offered a specialist stop smoking service to local smokers and 59% offered a service to all smokers
  • Among the local authorities that still had a budget for stop smoking services, 35% had cut this budget between 2018/19 and 2019/20
  • This is the fifth successive year in which more than a third of local authorities had cut their stop smoking service budgets
  • Pressure on budgets remains by far the biggest threat to stop smoking services
  • 74% of respondents said pressure on budgets was a threat to local tobacco control
  • Between 2014/15 to 2018/19, total local authority spending on stop smoking services fell by 36%
  • Despite the cuts, 98% of surveyed local authorities still offered some or all local smokers face-to-face support to quit and 97% were engaged in some form of wider tobacco control activity
  • Smokers in disadvantaged groups were less likely to receive targeted support
  • Only 65% of local authority stop smoking services offered smokers a full 12-week course of dual Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

The Recommendations made by ASH and CRUK:

  • Government must reverse cuts to public health funding and deliver new investment in local tobacco control by imposing a ‘polluter pays’ charge on the tobacco industry
  • The NHS and local authorities should work together
  • Local authorities should ensure that all smokers have access to behavioural support alongside a choice of a full 12-week course of dual NRT or a full course of Champix
  • Leaders in tobacco control should ensure that the priority given to smoking in Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships and Integrated Care Systems is followed through
  • Local authorities that have decommissioned specialist stop smoking services in favour of integrated lifestyle services or primary care-based support should ensure that these approaches are effective in reaching smokers in high prevalence groups
  • Commissioners should ensure that advisers employed to deliver behavioural support are trained to National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT) standards and undertake refresher training at least annually to stay up to date with the latest developments in smoking cessation
  • Local authorities which do not currently provide e-cigarette starter packs as part of their cessation offer should consider doing so to give local smokers the best possible chance to quit

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