21st November 2013
Substantial health system gains from Stop Smoking Services
Commissioning comprehensive Stop Smoking Services in hospitals as a treatment for sick smokers and to help hospital staff quit could generate health system benefits of at least £2 for every £1 invested.
This is the main finding of a preliminary study conducted by Dr Myra Stern, National Lead, BTS Stop Smoking Champions. It reinforces the proposals contained in NICE guidance ‘Smoking cessation: acute, maternity and mental health services’, to be published this month, which will recommend active and intensive stop smoking support for inpatients who are current smokers.
Providing Stop Smoking Services as a treatment can reduce admissions, re-admissions and length of stay. This provides about 40% of the estimated net benefit. A systematic review of nine studies has shown that for people with COPD, Stop Smoking support is a highly cost-effective and clinically effective long-term measure, with costs estimated to be £2,000 per QALY.
Helping hospital staff to give up smoking can offer immediate cash benefits to hospitals: it cuts staff time spent on smoke breaks and increases productivity, and by reducing the higher sick leave known to be taken by smokers, reduces the costly use of Bank staff. This accounts for about 60% of the estimated net benefit.
While these figures are still a rough estimate, there is no doubt that the financial benefits to the health service are significant, and that stop smoking services have a much greater part to play as treatment for patients and to help staff quit.
 Based on returns from 7 hospital trusts: Whittington, Royal Free, George Elliott Hospital NHS Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Ramsey Sabit Cardiff and Vale UHB, Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust and HEFT (Heart of England Foundation Trust). The data was compiled using a tool compiled by the BTS with the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement. This takes account of the specific data from each hospital: number of emergency admissions per year and length of stay by condition type, and the proportion of admissions who are admitted smokers. It is based on average prevalence of smoking among inpatients and staff of 18% and 20% respectively, with an average of 17% (patients) and 20% (staff) attempting a quit and 20-50% quit rates.
 Allender, S et al. The burden of smoking-related ill health in the United Kingdom. Tobacco Control, 2009.
Find out more about our Case for Change Campaign and Stop Smoking Champions
Further information: Ron Finlay, email@example.com, 07779 013093