Date Published: 5 September 2005

NHS Confederation calls for complete smoking ban in pubs and clubs

Health News from the United Kingdom (UK).

The NHS Confederation is calling for a complete ban on smoking in all pubs and clubs but warns that funding to help primary care trusts support smokers who quit the habit must be maintained. It will be submitting the feedback it has received from its members concerning the smoke-free elements of the health improvement and protection bill to government this week before the public consultation on the ban closes on Monday (5 September).

NHS organisations favour a complete ban on smoking in all pubs, clubs and bars but have supported government proposals that there should be some exceptions to the ban including long-stay adult residential care homes, psychiatric hospitals and units and adult hospices.

Jo Webber, Policy Manager for the NHS Confederation, said:

" Patients staying in long-stay units or homes often treat these areas as their home despite them being a public place. Therefore it is important that these patients are not stigmatised if their place of stay is made exempt from a ban."

Although NHS Confederation members support a complete smoking ban in pubs and clubs, they warned that current funding of NHS Stop Smoking Services (currently provided by primary care trusts) needs to be sustained past 2008, when the last phase of the ban is due to be in place, so that care can be delivered effectively to everyone who would like help to stop smoking.

Official statistics demonstrate the success of well-funded smoking cessation services:

  • In the 2004/05 financial year NHS Stop Smoking Services recorded that 297,828 smokers successfully quit for at least four months, in 2003/04 204,876 smokers quit for at least four months.
  • From 2003 to 2006 £138 million was made available to NHS Stop Smoking Services.
  • A further £112 million has been allocated to primary care trusts for the two years 2006 to 2008.

Jo Webber said:

" It is crucial that adequate smoking cessation services are in place to deal with the inevitable influx of people who will quit smoking if a ban is introduced.
_ The funding available to primary care services needs to be maintained, closely monitored and potentially increased so that everyone who wants to quit smoking is provided with the support and guidance they need
."

In addition to calling for adequate funding for primary care services, the NHS Confederation believes that addressing the way smoking cessation services are delivered may also help NHS staff deal with a rise in user demand.

Jo Webber said:

" NHS Stop Smoking Services need to look at how they are going to deal with the implications of the proposed ban. It may mean that they need to be more innovative in how, and where, care is delivered to deal with increases in demand. Taking cessation services into peoples workplaces would be an effective way of helping large numbers of people quit smoking whilst at work."

Source: The NHS Confederation (UK).

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