Support for quitting smoking available from high street pharmacies

Support for quitting smoking available from high street pharmacies
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The NHS has announced that every pharmacy in England will offer support for quitting smoking when patients are discharged from the hospital.

Smoking poses a great risk to the healthcare system, with statistics finding that it is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK. Every year around 78,000 people in the UK die from smoking and many more live with smoking-related illnesses. By introducing accessible support for quitting smoking in pharmacies, it can alleviate the burden on the UK healthcare system.

This new scheme offers smokers who are admitted to the hospital access to resources and support for quitting smoking once they are discharged. Eligible individuals can get help from their nearest chemist and choose the most conveniently located store.

This is part of the NHS Long Term Plan to offer tobacco treatment services to all hospital inpatients by 2023/24.

Accessible support for quitting smoking

The NHS carried out pilots of this service in Oldham, Greater Manchester, which successfully saw individuals receive support for quitting smoking after they left the hospital. Data from this pilot found that three in five people successfully quit.

The latest NHS figures show that more than half a million hospital admissions a year are attributable to smoking.

The scheme will offer at least three opportunities for people to arrange a convenient face-to-face or remote appointment with the pharmacist for up to 12 weeks and ongoing supplies of the medicine they need to help them quit will be supplied free of charge.

GP and Director of health inequalities, Dr Bola Owolabi for the NHS in England, said: “While rates are falling, giving up smoking remains one of the most important steps to leading a longer and healthier life, and the NHS is working hard to make it as easy as possible for people who decide to quit smoking while in hospital, to receive support once they return home.

“Leaving the hospital is a good incentive for people to quit smoking – and NHS pharmacies will be on their local high street with advice, support and treatment to help them stub out the dangerous habit once and for all”.

Patients can be referred for the new support by the NHS they are being treated by when they are discharged. Furthermore, they will have the option of selecting the most convenient pharmacy for them and will be contacted once they return from the hospital.

The impact of smoking on health

Smoking greatly impacts health and causes many illnesses as a result. This illuminates the necessity of available support for quitting smoking to protect the health of the public and the NHS.

Smoking causes around seven out of every 10 cases of lung cancer. It also causes many other types of cancer in the body, including mouth, throat, bladder, and liver. Additionally, it damages the heart and blood circulation, increasing the risk of developing conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke. It can also damage the lungs, leading to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia.


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