Intended for healthcare professionals

Editorials

Helping smokers to quit

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2806 (Published 27 June 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2806
  1. John P Pierce, professor emeritus
  1. Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, and Moores Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, USA
  1. jppierce{at}ucsd.edu

New report proposes a radical change for the NHS

On 26 June 2018, 56 years after their landmark report calling for public health action on smoking, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) published a new report calling for a change in how smoking cessation services are handled.1 This report details the health consequences and societal costs of smoking. It documents the evidence that patients who continue to smoke compromise the effectiveness of many medical and surgical treatment interventions. Clearly, all public health professionals have a critical interest in doing whatever is possible to reduce cigarette smoking, and this has fuelled many jurisdictions to take action to promote a smoke-free society.

Different approaches

The UK focused on testing the hypothesis, championed by Michael Russell, that the best way to reduce lung cancer mortality quickly was to provide treatment services to as many smokers as possible.2 By 2010-11, the NHS was providing smoking cessation treatment to more than 800 000 smokers.1 On a per population basis, this volume of treatment was many …

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