If you live in Bolton and you are thinking of using their Stop Smoking Service this month, think again. News reports indicate the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust is scaling back its support services in this area. From now on, the only people who will qualify to use the Bolton Stop Smoking service are pregnant women who wish to stop smoking to protect the health of themselves and their unborn babies.
Bolton Council said the removal of funds to support the service stems from the need to save £785,000 in the public health sector between this year and 2019. Unfortunately, the Stop Smoking Service has borne the brunt of these cuts. Thousands of local people are thought to have benefitted from the service up until now.
While savings of £46,000 will be made from this change, chief officer Jackie Bene is adamant patients will notice no changes. She is keen for the support services to be provided in a different way, so anyone wanting to give up smoking can still do so with support.
The UK is in an unusual position regarding vaping products. While many countries have either banned them completely or demonised them, the opposite is true here. Some of the smoking cessation services recommend vaping as the ideal alternative, with some giving away free e-cigs to help those who wish to quit smoking.
So, how will the removal of the smoking cessation support service in Bolton for all but pregnant women affect the smoking rate in the area? It is hard not to imagine saving money in the short term could potentially lead to bigger health costs in the future, if more people are afflicted by smoking-related diseases.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you live in Bolton? Are you affected by the changes? Let us know in the comments below.