Conservatives say NHS 'Stop smoking' budgets slashed

In collaboration with the Press Association

A Conservative Party survey of the UK's Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) indicates that almost half have reduced their 'stop smoking' budget during this financial year. And according to government figures released last month, more than 17,000 fewer people gave up smoking between April and September last year than in the same period in 2006.

The shadow health secretary explained that the budget cuts would limit the number of people who could expect help from the NHS this year. Reducing the budget just before the smoking ban comes into force on July 1st could mean that smokers are missing out on valuable resources at a critical time. Jean King, the director of tobacco control at Cancer Research UK explained that smokers are four times more likely to be able to give up for good with specialised help and support. She commented: "If stop smoking services are not sufficiently resourced, many smokers will try to quit on their own. This means that many will fail unnecessarily." "Giving up is tough and those who pledge to do so deserve proper access to the support they need." 'Stop smoking' sessions take place in small groups and provide counselling and support for people that are trying to overcome their nicotine addiction.

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