The UK Faculty of Public Health welcomes the intent behind today’s announcements on smoking, tobacco and nicotine addiction but is deeply disappointed by the unrealistic funding package announced to support it.
Since responsibility for Stop Smoking Services moved from the NHS to local government in 2015, the budget has been systematically stripped by 45%.
£80m a year investment is needed to merely return funding back to where it was in 2015, with today’s announcements of £45m over two years to fund the new activity of Swap to Stop inadequate to support service delivery.
Despite progress, smoking remains the single greatest cause of health inequalities in the UK, driving death, disability, dementia and poverty in the most vulnerable groups where smoking rates remain stubbornly high.
Today’s announcement gives some hope towards the smoke-free generation that the last 2017 tobacco plan aimed for. Since then, the excellent Khan Review has urged a number of actions, and a follow-up Government Tobacco Plan is still awaited.