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Shropshire among England’s worst areas for stop-smoking support



Shropshire doesn’t have any dedicated local stop-smoking support services – despite being home to more than 36,000 smokers.

Around one in ten people in Shropshire smokes – yet it is among the top ten worst areas in England to get help with kicking the habit.

An online retailer recently conducted a study into the level of smoking cessation support across England.

They looked at smoker data from every clinical commissioning group (CCG) in England from 2020/21, encompassing all smokers aged over 15.

The data, which comes from the government’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, was compared against the number of dedicated local stop-smoking support services within each area and then ranked according to its support-service-to-smoker ratio.

Despite the fact that it’s home to 36,381 smokers, the area covered by Shropshire CCG was one of only 12 CCG areas across England that does not have a dedicated local stop-smoking support service.

Stop-smoking services are staffed by expert advisers who provide regular, tailored one-to-one support over an extended period.

When Shropshire is compared with the 134 other CCG areas of England, it’s the seventh-worst area in the country in terms of the number of smokers versus the number of local stop-smoking support services.

To highlight the disparity, the area covered by NHS Central London (Westminster) CCG has two local smoking cessation services, despite having almost 6,000 fewer smokers than Shropshire.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Tackling public health issues such as smoking is a priority for the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities and a key part of the government’s levelling-up agenda.

“This is why we launched the independent review of our bold ambition to make England smoke-free by 2030.

“This review provides independent, evidence-based advice on potential interventions that will inform our approach to tackling the stark health disparities associated with tobacco use.”

The government recently cut its stop smoking budget from £5m in 2019 to the current level of £3.8m.

However, in a government report published earlier this month, former Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan recommended that an extra £70 million needs to be invested into stop smoking services every year.

His report also recommends raising the age of from 18 by 1 year every year, until eventually no one can buy a tobacco product in this country.

The government has set a target for England to be ‘smoke-free’ by 2030, which it defines as less than 5% of the population to be smoking.

For this goal to be achieved, more than 350,000 people will need to quit smoking every year, on average, between now and 2030 without anybody taking it up in that time.

Smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of death in the UK. It leads to the death of around 78,000 people each year.

It costs the NHS £3.6 billion in medical and social care.

There are currently 129 dedicated local stop-smoking support services across England and 8 million smokers aged over 15.

This means there is approximately one local service per 62,000 smokers in England.

Shropshire CCQ has been contacted for comment.



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