Denman, A. R., Groves-Kirkby, C. J., Timson, K., Shield, G., Rogers, S. and Phillips, P. S. (2008) Smoking cessation programmes in radon affected areas: can they make a significant contribution to reducing radon-induced lung cancers? Poster presented to: Faculty of Public Health Annual Conference, Cardiff, 3-5 June 2008.
Denman, A. R., Groves-Kirkby, C. J., Timson, K., Shield, G., Rogers, S. and Phillips, P. S.
Raised radon levels in houses in parts of the UK can increase the risk of lung cancer in the occupants. In Northamptonshire, 6.3% of houses have average radon levels over the UK Action Level of 200 Bq m-3. Environmental health campaigns, which have targeted home-owners to encourage them to test for radon and remediate their homes, have only been partially successful - 40% of houses have been tested, and only 15% of these have been remediated. Radon and smoking combine to increase the risk by around 4 times. We have shown that only 9% of those who remediate smoked compared to a countywide average of 28.8%. These results suggest that current strategies to reduce radon are not reaching those most at risk. Local NHS Stop Smoking Services assisted 2,808 smokers in 2004-5 to quit for 4 weeks, and around 30% of these remained quitters at 1 year. Assessing individual occupants’ risk of developing lung cancer, we have shown that this anti-smoking campaign makes a significant contribution to reducing the risk from radon. Further, it contributes a greater health benefit than reducing radon levels in the smokers’ homes, whilst they remain smokers. In addition, a questionnaire was given to quitters to assess why they sought help to give up smoking, and whether knowledge of radon risks influenced this decision. The impact of these findings on potential future public health campaigns to reduce the health impact of both radon and smoking will be discussed