The future of an organisation that helps hundreds of thousands of people attempt to quit smoking has been assured.
Prompted by a cut in statutory funding for No Smoking Day (NSD) and the fact quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do for your heart, NSD and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) have announced they intend to merge.
Amit Aggarwal, Chief Executive of No Smoking Day, said: "No Smoking Day is one of the UK's longest-standing and most successful public health campaigns. But like many charities we've been severely affected by public sector cuts with 50 per cent of our total funding wiped out from next year. Fortunately, we've found a stable, long-term future for No Smoking Day with the BHF."
"This will provide secure funding for the campaign and a platform for growth, a rare opportunity in the current climate."
Betty McBride, Director of Policy and Communications at the BHF, said: "By joining forces we can enhance the No Smoking Day campaign and extend its reach – helping more people to quit – as well as strengthening our policy and lobbying work. For both organisations, the opportunities posed by this merger were too good to miss."
No Smoking Day supports thousands of local organisations across the UK, such as GP surgeries, schools, and employers, to host their own quit-smoking events on a single day. As well as promoting resources to help people quit, each organiser can highlight any or all of the range of health harms of smoking from heart disease and cancer through to the cosmetic effects on skin and teeth. This template will continue after the merger with plans well underway for No Smoking Day 2012.
More than 9 million UK adults still smoke, which equates to one in five. No Smoking Day is directly responsible for 250,000 people attempting to quit smoking each year. About 6,000 quit permanently, which means the campaign costs about £125 per person to help them quit for good. In contrast, it's estimated that smoking costs the NHS between £2.7bn and £5.2bn a year in the UK.
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Notes to editors:
No Smoking Day has run for 28 years consecutively and has an annual budget of approximately £500,000.
The two permanent members of staff for No Smoking Day are moving to the British Heart Foundation's head office at Mornington Crescent, London.
The merger has been formally agreed by the trustees of both charities and NSD's member organisations, and the legal process will complete at the end of March 2012.
The British Heart Foundation is the nation's heart charity, dedicated to saving lives through pioneering research, patient care, campaigning for change and by providing vital information. It was established 50 years ago in 1961, and its income for 2010/11 was £125.2 million.