West Berkshire Council

Start date: 2018-11-12
End date: 2018-12-23
Results: 2019-03-05

Budget Proposal 2019/20: Smoking Cessation Service (Smokefreelife)

This consultation is closed.


This is one of 14 budget proposals for 2019/20. You can view the full list online.

You can also view budget consultations from previous years.

Smoking is the main cause of preventative illness, such as cancer, and premature death in England. It is also the largest cause of differences in death rates between the rich and the poor, with further research showing that certain occupations and educational levels, and disadvantaged social groups are two to three more times likely to die from smoking than those better off.

The proportion of adults that smoke in West Berkshire has dropped from 18.1% (21,550 adults) in 2012 to 13.1% (15,992 adults) in 2017.

The Smoking Cessation Service provides a range of support, including:

  • One-to-one or group sessions over 12 weeks
  • A free weekly supply of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
  • Drop-in clinics in local community settings, GP surgeries, supermarkets and other venues
  • A selection of clinics operating by appointment only
  • Support via Quitline, text or Face-to-Face video chat
  • Home visits for people with mobility problems

We currently provide Smokefreelife with annual funding of £201,100. 764 people used the service in 2017/18.

Legislation requirements

There is no legislative requirement to provide this service.

What are we proposing?

To reduce the annual funding to Smokefreelife from £201,100 to £101,100 (a proposed saving of £100,000 or 50%) from 1 April 2019.

What do we think the impact will be?

Whilst we have seen a significant fall in smoking rates across West Berkshire, national evidence suggests that stop smoking services have played a small role in this decline. A number of factors have contributed to the reduction in smoking, including:

  • More smokers switching to vaping
  • National action such as smoke-free public places legislation and plain packaging of tobacco products
  • Local marketing and advertisement campaigns highlighting the risks of ill-health

However, we recognise that smoking cessation services continue to be an effective alternative to those wishing to stop smoking. The Smoking Cessation Service will not discontinue as a result of this reduction, however it will mean that we have to ensure a more targeted approach that supports individuals at greater risk of ill health, eg pregnant women, individuals from less affluent areas, manual workers.

There will continue to be a variety of lifestyle interventions which can assist in promoting a healthy lifestyle and raise awareness of the effects of smoking, these include Activity for Health, NHS Health Checks, weight management and Walking for Health. People will also be able to continue to seek advice and purchase nicotine replacement therapy from their local pharmacy.

Smokefreelife will continue to be supported locally by a range of partner agencies such as GP surgeries, local pharmacies and businesses, which will ensure services are accessible to all groups of the population who may benefit them, providing targeted services to harder to reach groups as necessary. 

Please refer to the pdf icon Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) Stage One [269kb] for more details.

What else have we considered in arriving at our proposal?

No other options to reduce expenditure in this area have been identified.

Why we want your views

We would like to know how this proposal might impact you and the wider community, and any views you have on how we can minimise the impact of this proposed change.

All feedback will be considered at the Executive Committee on 14 February 2019. Following this, a final decision will be made at the Full Council meeting on 5 March 2019. The recommendations and your anonymised response will be posted on this page.

Please note: Social media discussions will not be monitored/considered as a valid response. 

What you told us

We received 25 responses (incl. one incomplete response) to the consultation. A background to the proposal and outline of the responses can be found in the Consultation Summary Report.

What we did

The responses we received did not indicate that an Equality Impact Assessment Stage Two was needed. The EqIA Stage One has been updated to reflect this.

The Full Council meeting on 5 March 2019 decided to progress this proposal.

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