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Stop smoking services are reducing the UK's health gap, shows study
Date:12/3/2007

Poorer people are quitting smoking in larger numbers than their better off neighbours, according to a new study.

Of the 1.5 million smokers supported by NHS stop smoking services between 2003 and 2006, researchers found that smokers from poorer areas were using these services - and successfully quitting - more often than those from more affluent communities.

They also found that the overall proportion of smokers from disadvantaged areas using these services was higher than those from more affluent parts of the country.

This shows that the NHS stop smoking services are helping to reduce inequalities in health caused by smoking, say researchers from the University of Baths Tobacco Control Research Group and the University of Edinburgh.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable ill health and death in the UK, and the single biggest cause of inequalities in health, said Dr Linda Bauld from the University of Bath, who collaborated with Professor Ken Judge from the Universitys School for Health and Professor Steve Platt from the University of Edinburgh.

It accounts for more than half of the excess risk of premature death between the highest and lowest socio-economic groups in the UK.

Our study shows that the NHS stop smoking services are helping to reduce the health gap between rich and poor, which is good news for the overall health of the nation.

However, the contribution of stop smoking services to achieving ambitious government targets to reduce inequalities in health is likely to be modest.

It is important that wider tobacco control measures, in particular successful implementation of the recent ban on smoking in public places, and rises in tobacco taxes, are pursued if more significant reductions in smoking-related inequalities are to be achieved.

NHS stop smoking services were established in 1999 to help smokers to quit. They offer smokers counselling from trained advisers, o
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Contact: Andrew McLaughlin
a.mclaughlin@bath.ac.uk
44-012-253-86883
University of Bath
Source:Eurekalert

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