Mark Whitehead 15 March 2019

Councils forced to slash stop smoking services

Government cuts mean only half of local authorities now offer smokers the best support to quit, according to campaigners.

Action on Smoking and Health and Cancer Research UK say smoking rates for adults are still falling but have plateaued for some groups including pregnant women.

They say the gap in smoking rates between rich and poor remains unchanged. 

Their report, A Changing Landscape: Stop smoking services and tobacco control in England, found 44% of local authorities no longer have a specialist stop smoking service open to all.

It calls for the Government to reverse cuts to the public health grant and says local authorities should ensure their stop smoking services are evidence based.

It says local authorities should coordinate their tobacco control efforts with other partners and invest in activities in additional services to bring down rates of smoking.

Kruti Shrotri of Cancer Research UK said: 'Smokers in disadvantaged circumstances generally find quitting harder but are around three times more likely to quit successfully with the help of stop smoking services.

'We can’t deny those most in need of vital help that could save their life.'

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