Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Smokefree future

The Department of Health (DH) has announced an ambitious strategy to halve the number of smokers by 2020.

More than 80,000 deaths each year are linked to smoking and smoking related illnesses costs the NHS £2.7 billion a year. Additionally, the DH notes that research has shown that 7 in 10 smokers want to quit.

The DH has made the following commitments:

  • Stopping young people being recruited as smokers by cracking down on cheap illicit cigarettes. Immediate investment in extra overseas officers will stop 200 million cigarettes entering the UK every year
  • Every smoker will be able to get help from the NHS to suit them if they want to give up - new types of support will be available at times and in places that suit smokers
  • The Government will carefully consider the case for plain packaging
  • Stopping the sale of tobacco from vending machines – a significant source of tobacco for young people
  • Protecting everyone, especially children, from the harms of second-hand smoke by promoting smokefree homes and cars and reviewing smokefree law. This review will include, for example, whether to extend legislation from enclosed public places and workplaces to areas like entrances to buildings

Action: Clinicians should be aware of this strategy. These changes, if realised, will likely results in greater demand on smoking cessation services.

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