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Researchers reveal quit rate of stop-smoking services

Practice Stop-smoking services in England, including those offered by community pharmacy, have achieved an average quit rate of 35 per cent among smokers at four weeks, but there remain regional variations, researchers have found.

NHS stop-smoking services in England, including those commissioned through community pharmacy, have achieved an average quit rate of 35 per cent among smokers at four weeks but there remain regional variations, researchers have found.


Researchers at University College London (UCL) praised NHS stop smoking services for increasing their reach and impact threefold between 2001 and 2011, in an analysis of services offered to nearly 800,000 people through the former PCTs.  


The study, published in the BMJ on Tuesday (August 20), found that smoking cessation services had helped thousands quit smoking and reached disadvantaged groups.


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However, there was "substantial local variation" in quit rates, warned the research team, led by UCL director of tobacco research Professor Robert Fox.

This could be due to the varying use of stop smoking advisors and the availability of medication, rather than the characteristics of smokers themselves, they said. 


Providers who employed specialist smoking cessation advisers and supplied varenicline or combination nicotine replacement yielded the highest success rates, the researchers found. Services with higher throughput generated lower success rates.


The research team acknowledged that the 35 per cent quit rate at four weeks was lower than the 50 per cent expected from an optimal service. But bearing in mind how difficult it is for smokers to quit, a 35 per cent quit rate represented a "substantial impact" on smoking levels in England, they said. 


The number of people who managed to quit four weeks into the programme rose from 22,933 in 2001-02 to 72,411 in 2010-11, they found.


The research also suggested the services had reached disadvantaged groups, with 54 per cent of quitters entitled to free prescriptions in 2010-11. The service cost an estimated £84 million that year, when it was used by 8 per cent of all smokers in England.


Pharmacy helped 33,000 patients to quit smoking between April and June 2012 and 45 per cent of these managed to stop smoking for good, according to figures released in October last year.


How successful are smoking cessation services in your pharmacy?

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3 Comments

Martyn Dayle, Community pharmacist

72,411 4wk quitters in 2010-11 and the service cost £84 million? That's 1160 per quitter......is that good value? Or do they not count those who have attempted to quit but not succeeded.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

You're missing the point of how much is saved through prevention, and thus treatment for the numerous conditions that can arise from smoking. So yeah, its great value.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Fantastic figures. Cessation is such a good preventive measure, saving the NHS millions of pounds. Good time for the figures to be released with Stoptober looming around the corner.

Good job everyone!

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