Publish date: 13 March 2019

13 March 2019 marks the 25th year of National No Smoking Day which is intended to help smokers who want to quit smoking, signposting them to expert help from the NHS.

Smoking is the single biggest avoidable cause of cancer and is thought to be responsible for around 7 in 10 cases of lung cancer. Despite significant improvement, smoking rates in parts of Cheshire and Merseyside remain among the highest in the country.

To support the ambition of reducing the incidence of cancer, Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance has now funded a pilot project which assists people who have been admitted to hospital to quit smoking.

Based on a successful project in Canada and a UK pilot in Manchester, the CURE project ensures all smokers admitted to hospital are offered intensive smoking cessation and treatment for their tobacco addiction.

Following a successful bidding process, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust will be hosting and delivering the project.

The model is included in the NHS Long Term Plan and notes that 1 in 4 patients admitted to hospital are smokers and if they continue to smoke after discharge they are twice as likely to be re-admitted within a month. The aim is to take the opportunity of engaging with patients when their admission to hospital might result in increased motivation to behavioural change which will be supported by licensed safe and effective treatment.

Dr Gareth H Jones, Consultant respiratory physician at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “The CURE investment is allowing us to take a systematic approach, treating nicotine withdrawal in a similar way to the current “VTE model”. 

Every unplanned admission is assessed for thromboembolic risk and prescribing pathways guide appropriate treatment for appropriate patients - this happens at scale because the systems are designed to facilitate its successful implementation with appropriate governance surrounding it and there is no reason we can’t take a similar approach to smoking cessation

“With such high rates of smoking in our city, the funding to support the implementation of CURE to improve smoking cessation in hospitalised patients will lead to a significant improvement in the health of our patients”

In-patients will be prescribed medication to tackle their addiction to tobacco and offered intensive support to help them stay smoke-free during their stay at hospital and once they go home.

CURE has the potential to save thousands of lives and generate significant reductions in demand for NHS services.  Evidence shows that smokers significantly increase their chances of quitting with help from a stop smoking services compared with going it alone.