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Stop smoking: 10% rise in people seeking to quit in pharmacies

More people are looking for help quitting smoking in their community pharmacies, new NHS England (NHSE) data has shown.

Community pharmacies have seen a 10% rise in the number of people using them to start quitting smoking, according to the latest quarterly data on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England.

Between April and December 2023, 8,850 people set a quitting date in a community pharmacy in England compared to 8,036 in the same period in 2022. 

Community pharmacy was the third most popular “intervention setting” to start the quitting process in the last quarter of 2023, accounting for 7% of all people, the new data released yesterday (April 18) showed.

Read more: Tobacco giant's Pharmacy Show sponsorship withdrawn amid outcry

Only “community” settings (67%) and GPs (14%) saw more people start their quitting process in the period under review.

And the number of people reporting that they had successfully quit smoking using community pharmacy services also rose 6% from 3,179 in April to December 2022 to 3,375 between April and December last year.

However, the share of people reporting that they had successfully quit using the services provided in community pharmacy declined slightly year-on-year.

Read more: Pharmacy smoking cessation service set for slow start, PSNC anticipates

In April to December 2023, community pharmacy had a 38% success rate, compared to 40% in the same period in 2022.

Other settings reported higher success rates, with the average across “intervention settings” sitting at 54% in the final quarter of last year.

But 76 out of 153 local authorities (50%) did not have any data for people seeking to quit smoking using community pharmacies and 80 (52%) shared no data for people reporting they had quit smoking in the setting, according to the latest release.


“Smoke-free generation”


It comes as MPs this week (April 16) voted in favour of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, which introduces a ban on anyone born after 2009 from buying cigarettes – dubbed the “smoke-free generation”.

The bill’s second reading was delivered by pharmacy minister Dame Andrea Leadsom, in which she commended the new law by stating that the economic cost of smoking was “at least £17 billion, far more than the £10bn of tax revenue that it draws in”.

Read more: How to optimise your smoking cessation service

Community pharmacy’s smoking cessation service has been commissioned as an advanced service since 2022.

Meanwhile, the King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust “vision for community pharmacy” report - commissioned by CPE - recommended in September that all community pharmacies should provide smoking cessation advice and support for vapes as well as tobacco products.

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