Stop smoking services under threat as funding comes under pressure
Around forty per cent of local authorities in England are cutting budgets to stop smoking services according to a new Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) report published today (Wednesday) by Cancer Research UK …
In the Spending Review 2015, the Government announced cuts to local council public health budgets of 3.9 per cent a year over the next five years. This is in addition to the £200 million extra in year cuts announced at the Budget 2015.
Stop Smoking Services are not mandatory services that councils must provide so there are fears they will be targeted and hit hard by cuts. This would then make it difficult for smokers to get the support they need to help them break their addiction.
and Simon Clark again:
“Since the advent of e-cigarettes and campaigns such as Stoptober, we have seen the number of users of smoking cessation services fall, while the population of smokers left is now more challenging to get to quit.
“This means councils are re-evaluating what they do on tobacco control and how to be more effective.
“Councils remain committed to helping smokers quit, however they face significant cuts to public health budgets this year, and spending large volumes of money on a service people are not using will fast undermine the cost-effectiveness of providing it.”
This reminded me that I’ve never seen the faintest trace of any “Stop Smoking Service” round where I live. Not that I’m complaining. I just wonder what, if anything, they actually do. Not much, if nobody is using the service.
I’ve never been accosted by anyone asking me if I’d like to stop smoking. Nor have I seen anyone else being thus accosted.
It’s not even as if there are Stop Smoking posters everywhere. I only ever encounter these in the waiting rooms of dentists, where they have an uncanny habit of having disappeared by the next time I show up (which has me thinking that there’s a well-organised resistance movement that is surreptitiously removing them).
I only ever seem to hear about these organisations online, where they’re forever complaining to government that they haven’t got enough money to fight the Awful Scourge of Tobacco, or else jetting off somewhere for some big antismoking conference.
But what do any of them actually do, apart from lobbying for more money, or jetting off to Moscow or Madrid or wherever?
I suspect that being a Stop Smoking Officer is probably the cushiest job there is in local government. You probably just sit in your office all day reading newspapers and books. And every few months you fly off to Moscow or somewhere to a big conference for lots of expensive restaurant dinners. And about once every six months you get a phone call from some idiot smoker, and you probably just tell them they’ve got the wrong number.