The number of people who smoke has fallen over the past 30 years under a barrage of tobacco control measures, including increasing the price of cigarettes, advertising bans, and health education campaigns. But, one in four premature deaths in the UK (adults aged 35–65 years) are still caused by smoking, and a study published recently warned that today’s smokers puff their way through more cigarettes and start at an earlier age than smokers of fifty years ago. This means that, on average, men who smoke now die ten years earlier than men who don’t smoke.
Can primary care make an impact on this ongoing problem? The good news is yes – and the new GMS contract is finally offering us incentives to include smoking in our health promotion activities. In this article, we give you the ammunition to put smoking cessation on your agenda – with the health and economic reasons why it makes sense to help patients quit. Practice nurse Rosemary Evans then explains how she does it in her Docklands practice.