ASH comment on British Lung Foundation report: ‘Less Help to Quit

Embargoed until 00.01 Monday 16th July

ASH comment in response to the new British Lung Foundation report ‘Less Help to Quit: What’s happening to stop smoking prescriptions across Britain’ [1]

Responding to the new report by the British Lung Foundation, Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH said:

While it is true that smokers can buy nicotine patches and gum from shops, evidence shows these medicines work most effectively when prescribed. The shocking drop in prescriptions as a cost saving tactic by commissioners is a false economy of the cruellest kind; undermining smokers trying to quit to save small sums now while increasing the chance they will develop a costly illness in the long-run. As the Royal College of Physicians have recently called for, and the Chief Executive of NHS England has supported, we must embed tobacco dependency treatment across the whole of the NHS.”

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England said in evidence to the Health Select Committee on 2 July 2018 [2]:

It is pretty clear that we will have to keep pushing harder on smoking and smoking cessation is part of that. That cannot all be done through local authority commissioned services; we are going to have to look at whether the NHS can embed smoking cessation in more of the routine contacts that we have with vulnerable groups who are still smoking. ASH and the Royal College of Physicians have put out an important set of proposals in the last 10 days, which we will take a very careful look at.”



Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see:

ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

ASH staff are available for interview and have an ISDN line. For more information contact ASH on 020 7404 0242 or out of hours Hazel Cheeseman on 07754 358 593 or Deborah Arnott on 07976 935 987.

[1] British Lung Foundation, (the full report will go live on the BLF website on Monday 16 July at 9am)

[2] Health and Social Care Committee Oral evidence (2 July 2018),