England

Last updated:

Government cuts to smoking cessation services are bad for public health and not cost-effective, says BMA

Responding to a new report from Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) and Cancer Research UK1, which found that cuts to public health budgets mean that only half of local authorities offer all smokers the support they need to quit, BMA public health medicine committee chair, Dr Peter English, said: 

“With smoking remaining one of the leading causes of preventable ill health, it is concerning that we are seeing such a significant reduction in funding for stop smoking services. 

“These services remain one of the most effective ways of quitting and are a vital source of support for those who have taken the difficult step to seek help. 

“Budget reductions have unfortunately led to unacceptable variations in the quality and quantity of services available. This is particularly apparent in more deprived areas where demand is higher, and resources more thinly spread. 

“Government reductions in the public health grant has meant many local authorities are under a lot of pressure to make savings and are very often in the position of having to rob Peter to pay Paul with prevention services often at risk. 

“Cuts to smoking and other healthcare prevention services are not cost-effective in the long run. They have a detrimental impact on population health which risks widening health inequalities and increases future NHS demand requiring further spending.”

Ends

Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. More information is available on Ash's website

For further information please contact:

British Medical Association, BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JP
Telephone: 020 7383 6448 
Email: [email protected]
Media centre | Twitter | Youtube - BMA TV | Flickr