High rate of hostel users are smokers, research says
More needs to be done to help the homeless population quit smoking as a high proportion of those in hostels are found to be smokers, a survey has found.
Research by homelessness charity Thames Reach, released only to Inside Housing, shows more than 73 per cent of service users were smokers.
Latest figures from the NHS – from 2009 and released last year – show among the general population of adults aged 16 and over, 22 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women are smokers.
Mike Nicholas, spokesperson for Thames Reach, said: ‘This indicates the sector needs to do more to help the people using its services to access schemes that would help them quit smoking.’
The survey also found 9 per cent of respondents had diabetes, while 2010 figures from the charity Diabetes UK shows that the UK average prevalence for diabetes is 4 per cent.
Thames Reach is involved with a partnership in Southwark, soon to be extended to Lambeth, with the NHS, Southwark Council and other voluntary groups to help people who have Type 2 diabetes.
The Three Dimensions for Diabetes brings together the NHS and community care, and groups like Thames Reach can help alleviate the stress housing problems bring. Housing problems can prevent people managing their diabetes effectively.
‘By early and rapid facilitation of housing, managing debt or childcare, a case worker can reduce the social drivers contributing to a person’s difficulty in prioritising diabetes,’ Mr Nicholas said.
Thames Reach carried out its health survey in February this year interviewing 113 medium to high support service users in Lambeth.