Budget cuts impacting on help for smokers

Public health funding cuts are impacting the support for smokers, it is claimed.
Public health funding cuts are impacting the support for smokers, it is claimed.

Cuts in public health funding are impacting support available for smokers, claim officials.

A report by Cancer Research UK and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) shows that cuts to the public health budget nationally have led to dramatic changes in services for smokers.

Only 61 per cent of local authorities offer smokers access to evidence-based support in line with NICE guidelines, while some local areas report year-on-year budget cuts to stop smoking services.

George Butterworth, Senior Policy Manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “National decisions to cut public health funding are having an impact on the ground.

“A growing number of local areas no longer have treatment available for all smokers that meets the necessary standards. We are deeply concerned that the erosion in support will hit disadvantaged smokers hardest.”

“We urge government at every level to ensure smokers have the support they need to stop smoking.”

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said: “Thousands of people every year die from smoking, with many more living with disabilities and disease.

“Shrinking public health budgets make it tougher to provide smokers with quit services, while tobacco companies pocket a billion in profit every year in the UK.

“The Government should place a levy on the industry to fund the support smokers need.”