NHS helps smokers to quit

Smoking cessation services hailed a success as targets are exceeded by 50
per cent

More than 61,000 smokers gave up the habit in the past year after receiving
help from NHS smoking cessation services, according to the Department of
Health.

Some 126,800 smokers set a date to give up smoking in England in the past 12
months, and nearly half – 61,000 – had been successful a month later.

Smoking cessation services were launched within health action zones in 1999
and have been provided in all health authorities since April last year.

This has made an extended range of services available, including a national
telephone helpline, nicotine replacement therapy and smoking cessation aids on
prescription. Specialist services are available for pregnant women.

The Government is committed to spending more than £53m on NHS smoking
cessation services up to 2002 and to bringing in legislation that bans tobacco
advertising – although there was no mention of it in this year’s Queen’s
Speech.

Health Minister Lord Hunt said, "Smoking causes 120,000 deaths in the
UK each year and treating smoking-related diseases costs the NHS about £1.7bn a
year.

"The services have already exceeded their target for the first year by
50 per cent and justify the substantial funding that we are providing."

However, plans to ban smoking in the workplace have been scrapped by the
Government following pressure from the pub and restaurant trade.

Ministers have rejected advice from the Health and Safety Commission for a
legal code that would have forced employers either to ban smoking or take
stringent measures to protect staff from others’ smoke.

Passive smoking for just 30 minutes can temporarily damage your heart, a
study by scientists in Japan has concluded. The study, published in the Journal
of the American Medical Association, found passive smoking for half an hour
dramatically affected the circulation of blood within the hearts of
non-smokers.

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