Smokers forced to quit on their own after funding cuts

Full story in The Guardian, 15 July 2018.

Thousands of smokers are being left without the support they need to quit after prescriptions of products to help them stop plummeted by 75% over the last decade, according to a report.

GPs are the most common first port of call for smokers who want to beat their addiction in England – 38% of smokers choose this route.

However, primary care prescriptions of nicotine replacement patches and gum and the smoking-cessation drugs bupropion and varenicline fell by three-quarters in England between 2005-06 and 2016-17.

In Scotland there was a 40% drop, while in Wales prescription rates fell by two-thirds. This is despite the fact that a combination of support and medication has been shown to be the most effective way to help smokers quit – increasing the chance of successfully beating their addiction threefold compared with going “cold turkey” – and is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).