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News8 March 2023

Clarion Housing Group works with University of Oxford to explore ways to support smoking cessation for people living in social housing

Clarion Housing Group, the largest social landlord in the country, is partnering with the University of Oxford, 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 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.

Clarion Futures’ dedicated money guidance team will be trained by the NCSCT to speak to residents who are buying tobacco or cigarettes to smoke themselves 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 is conducting a formal evaluation to examine how many people are successful in terms of quitting and estimate the likely cost savings.

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.

Clare Miller, Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group, said:

“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 uniforms 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.”

Dr Nicola Lindson PhD CPsychol, one of the lead researchers at the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, said:

“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.”

* 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.