ASH comment on Chief Medical Officer’s report

08 December 2016.

The decline in smoking among the British population is a great public health success story and has contributed to a significant decline in lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory disorders.  However, as the Chief Medical Officer’s report published today shows, health improvements could be even greater if the ‘Baby-boomer’ generation were given more support to stop smoking.

The CMO’s report notes that among current and ex-smokers 66% of men and 71% of women aged 50-69 have never been recommended to stop smoking by a doctor or nurse.  ASH agrees with the CMO’s comment that: “There is an unquestionable need for adequate support for smokers trying to quit and [that] continued provision of stop smoking services is vital.”   [1]

 Sarah Williams, Director of Policy at health charity ASH said:

“There’s no doubt that the decline in smoking has led to significant improvements in health. But, as this report shows, baby boomers who smoke are putting themselves at risk of heart disease, cancer and many other diseases which can be largely prevented by stopping smoking. It’s vitally important that smokers are given support to quit – support that can be best provided by local stop smoking services.”


Notes and Links:


Annual report of the Chief Medical Officer 2015: Baby boomers: Fit for the future

Dept of Health, 8 December 2016

[1] Smoking rates among the Baby Boomers as a whole is close to the average for the whole adult population at 19% among men and 18% in women but varies considerably by age, from 27% and 25% in men and women aged 50–64 to 12% and 13% in men and women aged 65–69.

With reference to the continued need for stop smoking services, the CMO states:

“Continued provision of stop smoking services is vital. A sustained decrease in the prevalence of smoking risks underestimating the needs of the baby boomer population for these services. They have lived through the height of the tobacco era and continue to experience substantial ill-effects from it. Locally appropriate services are also essential to reduce the resounding socio-economic inequalities and the geographical variation evident in smoking prevalence among Baby Boomers.”