Council spends £170,000 to help smokers quit

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TOWN hall chiefs shelled out almost £170,000 in just three months helping smokers to kick the habit.

Wigan Council spent £868 on each of the 195 people who successfully quit smoking between April and June 2015, according to figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

In total, the council spent £169,302 between April and June 2015, which includes the cost of pharmacotherapy, or pres cribed drugs such as bupropion and varenicline and nicotine replacement products.

Excluding the cost of pharmacotherapies drops the price per smoker to £273, making a total of £53,302 from the council’s total allocation for smoking cessation for the year of £532,000.

Professor Kate Ardern, director of public health at Wigan Council, said: “Tackling smoking in Wigan Borough is a key priority for us as we know by getting people to quit smoking will pay dividends in the long term for the borough’s health with lower numbers of heart disease, COPD and cancer cases.

“We have already had great success with bringing down the numbers of smokers with a year on year reduction but we are always looking at new ways to help those last remaining entrenched smokers who will be harder to support.

“Among those are the Quit Buddy mobile app, Quit Pal online app and other online support tools.”

The data also shows that 436 who attempted to quit in June, 417 received one-to-one support, with 186 of those who did quit successfully giving a success rate of 45 per cent.

Of the 436, 268 were provided with a single form of nicotine replacement, 43 received a combination, seven were prescribed bupropion and 79 varenicline. 23 people used no medication or unlicensed nicotine replacement at all.

The figures go on to show that 102 people successfully quit using a single type of nicotine replacement, 20 using a combination, three quit using bupropion and 45 with varenicline. 13 quit using no medication or nicotine replacement.

According to the figures, the most successful pharmacotherapies in Wigan were varenicline and nothing at all with a 57 per cent success rate.

Four of the people who set start dates in the borough were aged under 18 and only two of those were successful.

136 people who tried to quit were over 60 and 73 of them were successful.