Stop-smoking services under threat as budgets are cut

November 15, 2016

STOP SMOKING SERVICES across England are facing ongoing budget cuts after six in ten local authorities (59 per cent) were forced to reduce their funding in the last year according to a new joint report by ASH and Cancer Research UK published today (Wednesday).

Local authorities became responsible for Stop Smoking Services and tobacco control in 2013. These services were previously delivered by the NHS.

Cuts to the Public Health Grant from HM Treasury - which local authorities rely on to fund these services - are putting enormous pressure on councils.

Cancer Research UK is calling** on the public and local councillors to help protect crucial Stop Smoking Services and mass media quit smoking campaigns by urging Westminster to solve the public health funding crisis.

The number of local authorities cutting funding has risen from around four in ten (39 per cent) local services in 2015/16.

Almost half (48 per cent) of budgets for Stop Smoking Services have been cut by more than five per cent. In addition, 45 per cent of local authorities have cut their budgets for other tobacco control work such as tackling the illegal tobacco market and preventing the uptake of smoking by young people.

This is the third annual report involving 129 local authorities across England.

Around one in six (16.9 per cent)*** adults in England smoke in 2015. This equates to around 7.5 million adult smokers.

Specialist Stop Smoking Services provided as part of a comprehensive strategy are the most effective way to help smokers successfully break the addiction. Smokers are around three times more likely to stop smoking if they use these services****. But with repeated cuts to public health budgets, the findings suggest financial pressures are now forcing councils to make difficult decisions about how they can support smokers to stop.

There have been cuts to budgets for Stop Smoking Services and wider tobacco control work in every region in England. Cuts to Stop Smoking Service budgets were most frequent in the East of England, London and the Midlands.

The report reveals strong support for helping smokers to quit among councils in each region, and that staff consider tobacco control an above average priority in the majority (55 per cent) of local authorities.

Despite there being little opposition to tobacco control among key stakeholders in local authorities, the amount of staff time dedicated to tobacco control has fallen in more than four in ten (43 per cent) local authorities.

In one in five local authorities (20 per cent) the specialist stop smoking service has been entirely replaced by a broader lifestyle advice service. Without trained specialist advisers, there is limited evidence that these types of services are effective for smoking cessation.

Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK's director of cancer prevention, said: "Smaller budgets aren't just numbers on a balance-sheet - they can have devastating impacts on people's lives. Continued public health cuts are forcing the majority of local authorities in England to cut funding for life-saving stop smoking services and enforcement of anti-smoking laws. Helping smokers to quit will also save a hard-pressed NHS money by reducing the burden of preventable diseases. Tobacco is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer, and we urge the Government to do all it can to reduce the wholly avoidable burden of smoking-related diseases.

"We have a vision for the future - a tobacco-free UK where, by 2035, fewer than one in 20 adults smoke. If we are to realise this ambition, then it's vital to help smokers quit by ensuring that the most effective route - through specialist stop smoking support - receives continued investment."

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH said: "Our research shows that most local authorities remain committed to reducing smoking but key services are under threat from ongoing funding cuts. Meanwhile, the tobacco industry continues to reap huge profits from a product that kills around 100,000 people every year in the UK and is responsible for half the difference in life expectancy between the rich and the poor.

"If the Prime Minister is to succeed in her ambition to improve the life chances of the poorest in society the government must take action to ensure that local authorities have the tools and the funding they need to continue to provide specialist stop smoking services as part of a tobacco control strategy targeted at those with greatest need."
-end-
For media enquiries contact Paul Thorne in the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 8352 or, out of hours, on 07050 264 059.

Notes to editor:

* https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/sites/default/files/local_authority_survey_2016_report_cruk_finalfinal.pdf

** For more information about Cancer Research UK's "Don't Quit on Us" campaign, go to https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/campaign-for-us/dont-quit-on-us-save-stop-smoking-services

*** Calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK, 2016. By applying the smoking prevalence in adults aged 16 and over in England for 2015, from PHE tobacco profiles, to the 2015 mid-year population estimates for adults aged 16 and over in England from ONS. Similar data can be found here: Tobacco profiles: http://www.tobaccoprofiles.info and ONS, mid-year estimated: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity

**** https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/smoking-and-cancer/how-to-stop-smoking

For the latest statistics on smoking visit: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/risk/tobacco

Read Smoking Still Kills, the report which sets out short-term objectives and longer term aims for tobacco control in the UK: http://ash.org.uk/information-and-resources/reports-submissions/reports/smoking-still-kills/

About Cancer Research UKFor further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit http://www.cancerresearchuk.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)

Action on Smoking and Health ("ASH") is a campaigning health charity that works to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco. It was established in 1971 by the Royal College of Physicians. ASH receives funding for its full programme of work from the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK. It has also received project funding from the Department of Health to support tobacco control.

Cancer Research UK

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.