Over 60,000 Healthcare professionals still smoke

The smoking ban in England is just two weeks away, but new research* suggests that the habit persists among the very group of professionals that smokers turn to for guidance.

New research by Lloydspharmacy shows that almost 2,100 GPs have yet to quit while 54,600 nurses remain addicted. Andy Murdock, Pharmacy Director for Lloydspharmacy, admits his colleagues aren’t immune “There are about 3,800 pharmacists who have yet to quit,” he said. “It just goes to show how hard it can be.”

The research shows that healthcare professionals who smoked in the past but have now quit feel more able to advise patients about how to give up. 31 per cent of GPs say that they have been a smoker in the past but have quit now, while a staggering 58 per cent of nurses have also been smokers.

Six out of 10 GPs who have smoked in the past and eight out of 10 nurses say that being a reformed smoker enhances their ability to advise others to quit. The figures suggest that 25 per cent of GPs have successfully quit while 44 per cent of nurses have also managed to kick the habit.

Interestingly, very few GPs who currently smoke believe that their credibility is impeded when it comes to advising others on how best to quit. Sixty six per cent of GPs who smoke said their credibility was not impeded at all or only very little. The figure for nurses was 34 per cent and for pharmacists 57 per cent.

Andy Murdock, Lloydspharmacy’s Pharmacy Director, says that patients can feel reassured that smoking cessation professionals are not going to judge them because many have had similar experiences. He said, “smokers may feel increasingly isolated when the ban comes into effect. People need to understand we are here to help them and that the experts are only human and many have battled with nicotine addiction themselves and know how they feel.”

Lloydspharmacy is offering a Stop Now service for people who want to make a clean break and a Cut Down and Quit service for those who want to reduce their smoking before quitting for good.

Both services include free weekly consultations where carbon monoxide readings are taken and advice given on dealing with nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

13 million smokers
· There are approximately 13 million smokers in the UK - almost 3 million of whom live within the catchment area of Lloydspharmacy's estate

· Research by the Office of National Statistics conducted in 2005, indicated that 72% of smokers wanted to give up

· An IPSOS survey of over 2,000 smokers showed that only 24% of those who wanted to give up felt they could do so immediately, the remaining 76% felt they would first prefer to cut down and then quit

To help promote awareness of the smoke-free legislation and the health benefits of giving up smoking, Lloydspharmacy is working with The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. Throughout June and July, Lloydspharmacy is attempting to raise £50,000 for the charity by encouraging its customers to make a pledge to give up smoking. Lloydspharmacy will donate £1 to The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation for every pledge card posted in the special collection point in its pharmacies.

Mike Unger Chief Executive of The Roy Castle Foundation, said “As a charity that has been actively campaigning for many years for the smoke free legislation the Foundation is delighted to be working with Lloydspharmacy on this important initiative to help people quit smoking.

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