Spotlight On… Smoking: Prevalence and Health Inequalities

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Oct 31, 2023

Lorna Howey, Information Solutions Operations Manager with NECS RAIDR, looks at how the app can support the Government’s new public health initiative

“With news that the UK Government is set to introduce a historic new law to protect future generations of young people from the harms of smoking, this could be one of the most significant public health interventions – saving tens of thousands of lives and the NHS billions of pounds*. The proposed new legislation has the potential to phase out smoking in young people as early as 2040. 

“Smoking is currently the UK’s biggest preventable killer and is estimated to be the main cause of 1 in 4 cancer deaths with one hospital admission every minute in England attributable to smoking and up to 75,000 GP appointments each month. Smoking is also one of the biggest drivers of health inequalities with death rates two times higher for those residing in the most deprived local authorities.

“In the North East and North Cumbria region, smoking remains the largest cause of cancer with more than 117,000 deaths since 2000**.

“The government will also drive forward the agenda the support smokers to quit for good by investing an additional £70m per annum to expand locally delivered and cost-effective services.

“RAIDR’s Primary Care dashboard can identify eligible cohorts of smokers who could benefit from smoking cessation or social prescribing services in minutes as well as being able to help organisations pinpoint areas of higher prevalence at a system wide level and therefore analyse potential demand. Our Prevalence screens enable quick and targeted cohort creation, considering age, gender, ethnicity and areas of deprivation as well as looking at associated lifestyle factors including smoking and alcohol and drug misuse. 

“Smoking is also a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. Identifying patients with the associated risks and implementing early interventions could significantly improve the outcomes of your population and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions. RAIDR allows users to investigate the links between co-morbidities and view how one condition could perhaps exacerbate another.”

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* – October 2023  ** NENC ICB Update, October 2023