Five decades ago, half of the British population smoked – a public health nightmare. Smoking is substantially lower today, and Dorset is even lower than the national average at just 11.5% prevalence in adults (versus 14.9% for the rest of the country).
Smoking is estimated to be the leading cause of death and illness in the UK. And it isn’t just linked to the ‘obvious’ chronic diseases plaguing society, such as heart disease, stroke and certain cancers: there’s no organ not affected by smoke.
All in all, that’s a lot of trips to the doctor!
Smoking related morbidity and mortality is costing the NHS approximately £2.5 billion per year. Reducing numbers of smokers and encouraging individuals to quit at all points of contact has the potential to transform the burden placed on health care workers and free up NHS resources for direction elsewhere.
Public health measures are working - but quit rates have been slowing over the decades. We need to change the way we address smoking behaviour to reduce the still overwhelming health care burden of this unhealthy habit.
Six out of ten smokers want to quit – but less than a third will attempt any form of quitting, and only 5-8% of those will use evidence-based interventions. The problem? They struggle to know how.
Time is a scarce resource for health care practitioners. To mediate this, brief advice is a recommended, effective and an appropriate way to address smoking behaviour. This includes: a quick assessment of current and past smoking behaviour, concise information on the health consequences of smoking, and enlightening the patient on options for support in smoking cessation – including referral to local behavioural support services.
Motivation to quit is at its highest when experiencing an adverse health condition - and when information is delivered by a health care practitioner. You're in the perfect place to initiate one of the greatest lifestyle interventions your patient can experience.
And if they're not ready to quit? Ensure that they understand the health consequences, encourage a harm reduction approach, and urge them to seek our help as soon as they feel ready to make that change.
A nudge may be all a patient needs to act. But evidence shows that the more time spent with a patient, the greater the effectiveness of an intervention. This means that your patient gains more healthy life years – fewer trips to the doctor, and a significant reduction in economic strain.
You may not have the time to ensure your patient sticks with their cessation goals, but we do. Open the door to change and we'll continue the conversation.
In the past three years, we've helped over 20,000 Dorset residents to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviours. With tailored services based on behavioural sciences developed by University College London, we're helping the Dorset population to achieve and sustain behaviour change.
We offer personalised, one-on-one coaching and support. This includes:
From the initial decision to give up smoking, to support through nicotine withdrawal and help maintaining their new healthy lifestyle, we're here for your patient.
Interventions work. Change can happen, and healthier lifestyle can be adopted. Over the past seven years, we've seen a 1.6 million drop smokers across the country. Want to make this even lower?
Request a call back for your patient today.
LynetteView full story
"It was touch and go at first - I got a bit grumpy when I was desperate for a cigarette. But then I reached the end of the week and I thought to myself, ‘I've done the first week!’".
Written by Phoebe Nicholson (MPH), a health and wellness content writer.