Call for tobacco companies to fund smoking cessation programmes
A report by charity Action on Smoking and Health calls for an annual levy to be imposed on tobacco companies
A report calling on the government to force tobacco companies to fund smoking cessation programmes has been launched.
More than 120 public health organisations backed the report launched by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in the Commons yesterday. It sets out a five-year national strategy aimed at reducing smoking in the adult population to 13% by 2020.
The report, Smoking Still Kills, calls for an annual levy to be imposed on tobacco companies based on their annual sales that would pay for smoking cessation programmes and discourage young people from starting to smoke.
Vice chair of the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists (ARNS) Wendy Preston, a nurse consultant at George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, said more money was needed to address huge inequalities in the success of current programmes.
‘We have got smoking levels down to an all-time low but there is a massive divide between affluent areas and deprived areas. They might think we have got smoking down so now we don’t need to fund it any more. But now we need to focus on the harder-to-reach patients who need a lot more help to stop smoking and therefore cost more money.'
Current programmes receive £50 per patient for a 12-week programme but smokers from deprived backgrounds were likely to need weekly support over six months to a year to help them quit, added Ms Preston.