Diabetic smokers cut by a fifth in two years

The introduction of the quality framework has reduced the number of patients with diabetes who smoke by a fifth, according to UK research.

The proportion of smokers in the diabetic population has fallen from 20 per cent in 2003 to 16 per cent in 2005, while the number given cessation advice has risen from 48 per cent to 84 per cent since the introduction of the framework in 2004.

The number of diabetic patients who had their smoking status recorded increased from 91 per cent to 99 per cent.

Researchers compared the diabetes registers of 4,284 adults, collected from Wandsworth PCT in south-west London, before and after the introduction of the quality framework.

In 2004, six of the 10 disease areas in the contract had a smoking cessation component, accounting for 13 per cent of available points. There are now 19 clinical domains in the contract, including one for smoking.

Lead researcher Dr Christopher Millett, from the department of primary care and social medicine at Imperial College London, said it was important to help people with diabetes quit smoking because they had an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

'Improvements were generally greatest in the groups with the poorest performance before these incentives were introduced,' he said.

However, Deborah Arnott, director of the charity Action on Smoking and Health, said that GPs should be giving smoking-cessation advice to all smokers before they developed smoking-related diseases, and not just to patients who already had the diseases.

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