Stepping Up: The Response of Stop Smoking Services in England to the Covid-19 Pandemic

Published by
Action on Smoking and Health

This report, written in partnership with Cancer Research UK, examines the performance of stop smoking services in England during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Points

  • The proportion of local authorities commissioning a specialist stop smoking service has risen year-on-year from 65% in 2018 and 69% in 2019 to 77% in 2020.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic forced local authorities to reconfigure their stop smoking services at an unprecedented speed. They adapted quickly and many found that smokers welcomed remote methods of engagement such as telephone consultations.
  • The impact of the pandemic on the NHS meant that NHS providers of stop smoking support could no longer offer the same level support. Many specialist stop smoking services and lifestyle services were able to pick up the demand that could not be met in primary care.
  • Four in five local authorities (82%) undertook communication specifically about smoking and the pandemic, assisted by the #QuitforCovid campaign and resources.