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Members of the Health Behaviours team at the University of Oxford has joined forces with the Clarion Housing Group, the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT) and Smoke Free to run a pilot exploring the impact of giving up smoking and estimate likely cost savings for residents.

The cost of living crisis is most acute for people living in social housing, with the findings of a survey Clarion, the largest social landlord in the country, recently conducted with Opinium* showing that almost half (43%) of social renters have no savings to cushion the impact of the rising cost of living and 60% report being in debt.

Through Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group, residents can access practical advice and support, helping thousands of people every year manage their money, reduce debt and increase their financial resilience.

With access to smoking cessation support varying greatly around the country, Clarion is launching a pilot of a national free offer for residents receiving money guidance support who want to give up smoking – often one of the only areas of flex within household budgets.  

As the cost of living continues to bite, we’re always on the lookout for ways to help our residents make ends meet. One thing that often comes up when we’re looking at household budgets is smoking. When times are tight, that’s money that could be spent elsewhere, perhaps covering essential bills, paying for school uniform or helping to clear debts. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the University of Oxford and other experts to see how we can best support our residents should they wish to quit smoking - Clare Miller, Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group

Clarion Futures’ dedicated money guidance team will be trained by the NCSCT to speak to residents about their tobacco usage, assess their interest in giving up, and deliver brief smoking cessation advice. Those interested in quitting will be given free access to the Smoke Free app designed to support people through the process along with four weeks’ worth of nicotine replacement products, providing a package of specialist and tailored advice.

The University of Oxford are conducting a formal evaluation to examine how many people are successful in terms of quitting and estimate the likely cost savings.

It is great to be able to work on this very important project. Most people who smoke want to quit and the expense of smoking alongside the current rises in the cost of living provide an additional reason to do so. However, quitting smoking is hard and so providing people with the support they need through as many avenues as possible is a really positive step and likely to help maximise their chances of success and provide multiple benefits. - Dr Nicola Lindson, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford

The findings and key learnings will be shared with other housing associations and support providers, helping to explore the feasibility of applying a similar model in other settings.

*Online research conducted by Opinium amongst 2,000 adults aged 18+ in England only between Friday 4 November – Monday 14 November 2022, with respondents split equally between social renters, private renters and owner occupiers.



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