Have your say on future of stop-smoking services

Views are being sought on the future of services to help smokers quit in Oxfordshire, with one in eight people still lighting up in the county.

The county council's Public Health team commissions a range of stop-smoking services. Current contracts with GPs, pharmacies and other providers are due to come to an end and the team is thinking about what the new services might look like from April 2018.

Smoking rates in Oxfordshire have fallen steadily and are currently lower than the national average, but it is thought around 65,000 people have yet to kick the habit. Meanwhile smoking remains the main cause of preventable death across the UK.

Reaching out to smokers

Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Education Hilary Hibbert-Biles said: “We want to make sure the best possible services are provided in Oxfordshire, so that we are reaching as many smokers as possible and further reducing the health problems and loss of life that smoking causes. We’re asking people for their views on what works best, how we can improve what’s on offer to help people quit.”

“We’ve seen a big reduction in the proportion of people smoking but there still remains a significant number of people who we need to reach – including both long-term smokers and a small proportion of young people who are still taking up the habit. Many of these people have already tried to quit, or would like to, but have yet to access the right support.”

Community advisors

When stop-smoking services were first commissioned by the council in 2013, a new service was set up with advisors in different places, like shopping centres or supermarkets.

Cllr Hibbert-Biles added: “Many smokers say they are equally happy to speak to advisors in community settings or clinical settings, and our evidence suggests that people are still four times more likely to quit with the support of an advisor compared with other methods.”

Consultation options

The council is seeking views on a number of options, including ongoing GP and pharmacy-based services and targeted support for priority groups of smokers. Other options being considered include online and telephone support, and prevention and education programmes targeted at young people.

The consultation, which runs until 17 August, will help inform decision-making on the nature of stop-smoking services provided in Oxfordshire in the future.

For more information and to have your say, please visit https://tinyurl.com/oxonlsss