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Performance of English stop smoking services in first 10 years: analysis of service monitoring data

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4921 (Published 20 August 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4921

Re: Performance of English stop smoking services in first 10 years: analysis of service monitoring data

Stop smoking services: France must look over the English Chanel.

West and colleagues reported the brilliant work of the English stop smoking services from 2001/02 to 2010/11.(1) This is part of the comprehensive plan for tobacco control developed in the UK. In the 1998 White Paper ‘Smoking kills’ the Government set a target to reduce adult smoking rates from 28% to 21% or less by 2011. The latest national survey shows that this target has been achieved for the general population and that the number of ex-smokers now exceeds that of smokers.(2)

As many, I was not aware that the services are free to users.(1) Only a small prescription charge for medications is payable and people on low incomes, over 60 years of age, or pregnant/postpartum and patients with certain medical conditions are exempt.(1)

In contrast, in France, despite a mandatory health insurance scheme, smokers are only reimbursed 50€ for smoking cessation medications. In 2011, health minister Xavier Bertrand even banned varenicline from this ridiculous reimbursement and the number of persons treated felt from 283 000 in 2010 to 89 000 in 2012.(3)

In 2004, the French public health law set targets for smoking rates: from 33% to 25% for men and from 26% to 20% for women. In 2010 rates were 32% and 26%, respectively.(4)

1 West R, May S, West M, Croghan E, McEwen A. Performance of English stop smoking services in first 10 years: analysis of service monitoring data. BMJ. 2013;347:f4921.

2 Action on Smoking and Health. Smoking statistics. July 2013. Avalaible at ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_106.pdf‎.

3 Lermenier A. Tabagisme et arrêt du tabac en 2012. Observatoire français des drogues et des toxicomanies 2013. Avalaible at http://www.ofdt.fr/ofdt/fr/tt_12bil.pdf.

4 Direction de la recherche des études de l’évaluation et des statistiques. L'état de santé de la population en France - Suivi des objectifs annexés à la loi de santé publique. Rapport 2011. Avalaible at http://www.sante.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/esp2011_14_tabagisme_obj3.pdf.

Competing interests: No competing interests

24 August 2013
Alain Braillon
Addiction
Northern hospital
80000 Amiens
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