Today (11 March) marks No Smoking Day and the RPS in England is calling for a reversal of the decommissioned smoking cessation services in community pharmacies.
Although NHS Digital data from 2018 shows an encouraging decline in the number of people smoking, 14.4% of adults still smoke, above the national ambition of 12% or less, highlighting a significant need for more support.
No Smoking Day is an opportunity for pharmacies to highlight the roles they can play in helping people to quit smoking, including medicine therapies and guidance.
Claire Anderson, Chair of the English Pharmacy Board, said:
“Encouraging more people to quit smoking is one of the most important interventions that we can make to improve public health. Pharmacists and pharmacy teams are well placed to offer first point of contact help to people who want to quit but need to be fully supported to provide these services.
“It is good to see smoking cessation referral pilots from secondary to primary care in the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework funding update. However, continued cuts to public health funding means that pharmacies are no longer being commissioned to provide free and accessible stop smoking services to their local communities.
“We are also calling for the Government and the NHS to bolster up public health funding to ensure that everyone across the whole of England can get access to such services that can help them quit through pharmacies.”