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Stop Smoking Services and Health Inequalities

Hiscock R & Bauld L (2013) Stop Smoking Services and Health Inequalities. McEwen A (ed.). Briefing, 10. National Centre for smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT).


- Rates of smoking have declined in the UK in recent years, but the rate of decline has been significantly slower in more disadvantaged groups

- Health inequalities in the UK are widening according to some important measures, such as life expectancy

- Smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of these health inequalities 

- Stop smoking services ‘reach' a significant number of disadvantaged smokers, even in areas with high smoking prevalence. The services treat a higher proportion of smokers eligible for free prescriptions and who are unemployed than are found among the general population

- Despite this, smokers from disadvantaged areas find it more difficult to stop with the help of stop smoking services than their more affluent neighbours 

- These differences in chances of quitting successfully appear to be due to: lack of social support, higher nicotine dependency, challenging life circumstances and factors relating to the stop smoking services themselves 

- Ensuring that disadvantaged smokers make full use of stop smoking medications (e.g. combination therapy or varenicline) and group support (possibly rolling drop-in groups) may help stop smoking services increase the quit rates amongst less affluent smokers

- Stop smoking services in their current form contribute to reducing health inequalities; this impact could be even greater if more disadvantaged smokers contacted the services and if the services maximised the chances of those quitters being successful through promoting use of the most effective medications (combination NRT and varenicline) and using more tailored and flexible approaches

EditorMcEwen A
AuthorsHiscock Rosemary, Bauld Linda
Number of pages7
Title of seriesBriefing
Number in series10
Publication date2013
PublisherNational Centre for smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT)
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