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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Deprived areas tackle smoking

19th September 2006

18072006_femalesmoking1.jpgThe Healthcare Commission (HCC) has praised NHS trusts in the most deprived areas of England for their efforts to reduce the impact of smoking; however not all primary care trusts are performing to the same high standards, especially those in the most affluent communities.

Smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable illness and premature death in the UK. There are 10 million smokers in England, costing the NHS £1.7 billion per year.  Smoking kills more than 106,000 people every year.
Primary care trusts (PCTs) are responsible for services to help people stop smoking and for working with other agencies on campaigns to reduce second-hand smoke in homes, workplaces and recreational settings.

The review assessed performance on reducing the numbers of smokers in their community, in promoting smoke free workplaces, and encouraging healthy lifestyles.  It also looked at how effective the PCTs were in working with other agencies to address the needs of the local population.

Encouragingly the review found the NHS doing well in promoting smoke free areas, in preparation for the smoking ban which begins in summer 2007.  There were wide variations, however, highlighting need for improvement in some parts of the country.

Anna Walker, the Commission’s Chief Executive, said: “The good news is that where smoking prevalence is the greatest the NHS is showing strong performance.  Continuing on this path of good practice is crucial if we are to tackle health inequalities, which are still too great."
Jo Webber, Deputy Director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said "It is vitally important that the current funding of NHS Stop Smoking Services – provided by primary care trusts – is sustained post-2008, when the last phase of the smoking ban is due to be in place, so that care can be delivered effectively to everyone that needs support to give up smoking.?

A national report, outlining findings from the tobacco control improvement review, will be published later in the year.

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