Thousands go up in smoke

cigarettes. fags. stub it out. ash tray. smoking. butts. bad health. smoking ban. 10th March 2009. Picture by JANE BARLOW
cigarettes. fags. stub it out. ash tray. smoking. butts. bad health. smoking ban. 10th March 2009. Picture by JANE BARLOW

FIFE health chiefs are ploughing thousands of pounds into providing nicotine-based drugs to patients, in an attempt to curb the biggest killer in the Kingdom.

Smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death and ill-health in Fife, and as costs for nicotine-based drugs spiral, health chiefs have said the problem is a “serious concern”.

Figures released this week have revealed that NHS Fife spent £848,642 in 2010/11 on prescribing nicotine dependence drugs to smokers trying to quit, including chewing gum, pills, inhalers and patches.

The figure has risen steadily over the past 10 years, when, in 2000/01, the number was only 25 per cent of that.

Kay Samson, acting health promotion manager, said the spend is worthwhile, with most smoking cessation treatments costing less than £1000 per life year gained for each patient.

She said: “The level of tobacco use within Fife continues to be a serious concern.

“Robust evidence finds that intensive smoking cessation support (in conjunction with medications) provides the best possible chance of long-term successful quits.

“In terms of health gain, it is worthwhile. With this in mind it only stands to reason that there will be an increase in the number of smoking cessation medications prescribed.”

In past three years NHS Fife has implemented several prevention programmes, aimed at children, teenagers and adults.