NHS must meet smokers' quit needs before ban

In collaboration with the Press Association

The NHS must ensure that the services it offers to smokers trying to quit are equal to the expected boom leading up to the smoking ban, says a University of Bath study.

Research by the university showed that the number of people in Scotland seeking help to quit smoking almost doubled in the three months before the country went smoke-free.

"Smoking cessation services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland need to be prepared for an upsurge in clients well in advance of smoke-free legislation being implemented," said researcher Dr Linda Bauld.

"It is important that they are adequately prepared and resourced so that the health gains of supporting more smokers to quit are not lost."

The number of people organising a quit-date with the NHS anti-smoking programme also increased in the months before the Scottish ban, as did the number of companies seeking help to support staff in giving up.

Demand for the services remained higher than usual following the ban but fell away from the high recorded previous to it, added Dr Bauld.

The research was presented at the South West Tobacco Action Network conference.