Norfolk 'spends more on stop smoking services than almost anywhere else in England', data reveals
More money is being spent to provide stop smoking services in Norfolk than in most other parts of England, according to new figures.
A study of NHS data shows more than £1 million was invested in the programmes during a nine-month period last year, the fifth highest total of any authority in the country.
But public health chiefs say services here are more successful than the national average.
An analysis published by online vaping company Vapourcore.com looked at the amount spent by 152 local authorities on services designed to help smokers kicked the habit.
It found that a total of £1,127,325 was spent in Norfolk during the period from April to December 2018.
Only Hampshire, Lancashire, County Durham and Kent had higher figures and the Norfolk total is around three and a half times greater than the average authority’s spend.
But Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk County Council’s director of public health, said the scale of the risks posed by smoking, and the success of the programmes offered, justified the spending.
She said: “Smoking remains the most important cause of early death and health inequalities in Norfolk.
“Recent data shows that about half of people who set a date succeed in stopping smoking, which means that if smokers have tried to quit before but not been successful it’s always worth trying again.
“Our Smokefree Norfolk service achieves a quit rate that is much higher than average for county councils, and our cost to achieve this rate is average compared to similar councils.”
She added: “As well as helping people to quit smoking, public health is working with others to try to prevent young people from starting to smoke.
“We support colleagues in our Trading Standards team to get bootleg cigarettes off the streets and, with local councils, promote smoke-free sports side-lines and smoke-free children’s playparks.”
Anyone who is looking for help to quit can visit www.smokefreenorfolk.nhs.uk or phone 0800 0854113 for further details.