Although smoking prevalence in England continues to decline, smoking remains the biggest killer and biggest single cause of health inequalities. The evidence for the adverse impact of smoking on health is long established and there is a well-publicised, robust evidence base for the cost effectiveness of interventions to support people to stop smoking.
Our work aimed to describe the state of play of stop smoking services in acute trusts within the South East. Although focussed on acute trusts our work identified the need for a system wide approach to the leadership and delivery of the smoke free agenda in local areas through Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships and integrated care systems. Contacts within acute trusts are just one of many opportunities to provide an effective stop smoking intervention and a co-ordinated approach across the system is needed.
Compared to many of the challenges dealt with by the NHS, effective action on smoking is relatively simple and cheap but it does require a cultural change in recognising smoking as an addiction rather than a lifestyle choice and treatment as the business of all clinicians.