Cole-Hamilton: Target for quitting smoking reduced to ashes

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today warned that efforts to deliver a smoke-free Scotland risk falling short after new figures showed the number of attempts to quit smoking with the help of the NHS fell for the sixth consecutive year.

The statistics show that the number of quit attempts made with the help of NHS smoking cessation services reduced to 55,369 in 2017/18.

The target to achieve 9,404 successful quits among people in more deprived areas was missed (only 7,632 were achieved). Only two of the fourteen NHS boards met their local 2017/18 quit targets.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“It’s disappointing that when smoking is still responsible for 10,000 deaths a year, performance against this NHS quitting target has been reduced to ashes.

“Helping people stop smoking is a win-win for everyone. Individuals get healthier, children and family members reduce their exposure to passive smoking and in the long term, it reduces the pressure on our hard-pressed health service.

“The Scottish Government need to be working with successful health boards such as NHS Forth Valley to share good practice and ensure that efforts to stub out Scotland's smoking habit get back on track."

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