DDN February 2024

Whats our problem with tackling smoking?

ddn magazine february 2024Smoking is the elephant in the room for drug and alcohol services, David MacKintosh tells DDN (p6). Many staff are smokers themselves and ‘if you’re trying to engage with a guy on a cardboard box in a shop doorway then a cigarette isn’t a bad way of doing it.’ When we started DDN 20 years ago you could spot a drugs conference venue from the large group of smokers outside. The difference is that many of us with a choice are vaping these days.

It’s a different story for people who are homeless. The choice may have been offered briefly during COVID to keep people indoors in emergency hotel accommodation and stop them from sharing cigarettes. But back on the streets now, the smoking level is six times higher than in the general population, with all the previous risky practices in evidence. We know the devastating effects of dire respiratory health – COPD, chest infections, pneumonia. Combined with cold, wet living conditions and a poor diet, the appalling life expectation of early 40s should be no surprise. So why aren’t we focusing more on tobacco – the drug that’s most likely to kill them? 

Do we still have a problem with tackling smoking? Thoughts, feedback and ideas welcome.

Read the February issue as an online magazine (you can also download it as a PDF from the online magazine)

Claire Brown Editor of DDN Magazine

Claire Brown, editor

Please send your letters and comment to claire@cjwellings.com

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