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Stoptober 2023: How can population health tools support smoking cessation?

29 September 2023

Now in its 12th year, NHS Stoptober will launch again on 1 October, calling on smokers in England to join the thousands of others committing to quit. While smoking rates are declining, over 5 million adults in England still smoke and smoking remains the single biggest cause of preventable illness and death in the country - linked to 64,000 deaths a year. The total cost from smoking to society in England is approximately £17 billion a year - this includes the cost to the NHS of treating diseases caused by smoking at approximately £1.9 billion a year.

How can Graphnet help?


To support the NHS and the Government’s bold ambition to be Smokefree by 2030, Graphnet Health has added an innovative Smoking Prevalence Dashboard to its Population Health management platform – enabling public health providers to monitor smoking prevalence across their care systems, plan intervention programmes using near real-time data, and measure the health and social impacts of smoking cessation over time.

A smoking status report generated within the Smoking Prevalence Dashboard shows visualisations that analyse the link between smokers and other key identifiers, including age, long-term conditions, IMD quintile, and gender. These links help to identify groups within the smoking population, enabling personalised, proactive outreach programmes and care for those individuals. Comprehensive analysis allows for continued learning and improvement, while the fact that the data feeds into a unified shared record means that colleagues from local authorities, care services, NHS Trusts, and other organisations, can share and collaborate on care plans.

Smoking cessation success in East Surrey  


Several pioneering Integrated Care Systems are also using Graphnet’s Enhanced Case Finding Tool to tackle smoking, including the Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership. As part of a wider piece of work to identify cohorts of patients experiencing health inequalities, they have used the tool to look at the smoking status of patients across East Surrey’s Care Collaborative Primary Care Network, which covers Redhill, Merstham, and Reigate.

They noticed that smoking had a much higher prevalence in one particular area with a high level of deprivation. They then looked at the SNOMED code conditions for that area to see what other health conditions were prevalent, and it was apparent that health conditions typically associated with smoking such as COPD and asthma were much higher.

The PCN worked with One You Surrey who provide smoking cessation advice and they now jointly hold regular pop-up sessions at Merstham Community Centre to raise awareness of the weekly stop smoking clinics held at Moat House Surgery (which were underutilized). They also worked with Surrey County Council to organize a meet at the estate within that area.

“We worked with the Surrey County Council Community Development Officer for the area and set up an afternoon tea, which encouraged the residents to come down,” explained Melanie Hall, Digital Transformation Officer at Care Collaborative PCN.

 “Amongst our conversations we were able to speak with them about smoking and find out whether they had ever tried to quit, what had worked, what hadn’t and any barriers they were experiencing. We now also regularly visit the food bank in that area to raise awareness of the weekly stop smoking advisory clinic that is held in one of our local practices. Close to 60% of those who attend these types of sessions do manage to quit smoking, but not many people knew about the service. The uptake of the stop smoking advisory session has increased and we have had many success stories!”

Over the past year, they have seen smoking prevalence decline by 11% in that particular area -plus, the OYS stop smoking clinics at Moat House Surgery went from being underutilized to fully booked.

Following the success of that initial project, the PCN has continued to use the Enhanced Case Finding tool to monitor smoking level across different regions.

To find out more about the Smoking Prevalence Dashboard and the Enhanced Case Finding Tool, contact at Graphnet Health.