Sarah MacFadyen, Head of Policy at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation and vice chair of the Taskforce for Lung Health, responds to the Royal College of Physicians report: Smoking and Health 2021
“Every year, 35% of respiratory disease deaths in England are linked to smoking and it can leave those with conditions such as asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) gasping for breath and at risk of life-threatening asthma attacks or exacerbations. Our research shows that 53% of people with asthma say passive smoking triggers their symptoms.
“The majority of people who smoke, including those with lung conditions, want to stop and so we welcome the recommendations in this report, including the need to ensure that everybody who smokes has access to the right support to help them successfully quit this deadly addiction.
“The government has set a target of becoming smoke-free by 2030 but to achieve this, it needs to urgently provide sustainable funding for the delivery of stop smoking services in primary care, as well as hospitals, which we know are highly effective in supporting people to quit. This should include training for GPs and other frontline health care professionals to offer smoking cessation advice to every patient they see who smokes.
“If the government doesn’t take action now, we will continue to see thousands of people every year die as a result of preventable lung diseases linked to smoking.”