Cost of quitters double for Telford & Wrekin
The cost to stop people smoking in Telford has doubled per quitter in the last four years, according to new data from the NHS.
In a well laid out PR piece from someone who represents the vaping industry (full disclosure here!) it has been calculated that the average “cost per quitter” – the public money spent on encouraging an individual to quit smoking by their local stop smoking service – is £451 per person, and in Telford and Wrekin is as high as £901.
According to the new figures, which show stop smoking service uptake from April-December 2019, Telford & Wrekin council recorded 296 successful quitters via their local service. At a total cost of £266,790, this means the council spent £901.31 per quitter. This is double the £450 it was spending per quitter for the same period in 2016.
In other councils, spend had increased by twenty times compared to the same period in 2016, with one council, Brent, recording just five successful quitters at a cost of over £20,000 per person.
The latest data, which comes nearly a year after the government set a target to be “smoke-free” by 2030, also found that between April to December 2019, only 79,709 smokers used a local stop smoking service to help them quit, whereas during the same period in 2016 this number stood at 107,422 smokers, and in 2011 it was as high as 264,795 smokers.
Meanwhile, smoking rates in the UK have fallen dramatically, with ONS data showing a 5.5 per cent fall since 2011, which is the equivalent of around 2.8million people, or 400,000 fewer smokers a year.
The decrease in smoking rates and use of local council stop smoking services coincides with a significant increase in quitters using e-cigarettes. An ever increasing number of smokers are buying e-cigarettes privately as many local stop smoking services do not offer them, despite endorsement by Public Health England, and instead typically only offer nicotine gums and patches which recent studies have shown are less effective.
Recent data shows that there are now 3.6 million vapers in the UK, with 1.7 million of them having quit smoking entirely since switching to vaping. According to a study published in January 2019, vaping (with stop smoking service support) is twice as effective as traditional nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) gums and patches at helping people quit. The average vaping device costs between £4.99- £9.99.
Commenting on the data, Gareth Johnson MP, Vice Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Vaping and Member of Parliament for Dartford said:
“We need to be more positive about vaping. This latest NHS data further demonstrates the positive role of vaping on our nation’s health. Not only are e-cigarettes helping record numbers of smokers to quit because they’re more effective than traditional patches and gums, but they can also save the NHS, local councils and the taxpayer money if more widely used as part of local stop smoking services. This is an open goal and we should be doing everything we can to ensure that e-cigarettes are more accessible to the UK’s 7 million remaining smokers.”