'Stop Smoking' in pre-launch hire

The trade body representing professionals whose job is to help people quit smoking has brought in its first public affairs adviser.

The newly formed British Association for Stop Smoking Practitioners (BASSP) has hired Munro & Forster Communications ahead of its official launch later this year.

It is concerned that the smoking ban, due to come into force on 1 July, will mean less focus on the work done by stop-smoking practitioners.

M&F is charged with ensuring that counselling sessions and other initiatives for smokers do not fall off the agenda. The agency will seek to persuade ministers not to reduce the amount of ­government funding made ­available to smoking cessation practitioners.

The brief will be led by ­political director Helen Munro, who leads the agency's political and stakeholder counsel practice. BASSP is a subsidiary of the British Thoracic Society.

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