Information for the public

Smoking is the main cause of illness and early death in the UK. People who smoke are at higher risk of serious conditions like heart and lung disease, stroke and cancer. If people quit early enough they can prevent smoking-related health problems or at least stop them getting worse. So it’s important that health and social care workers in community and primary settings can identify people who need information and support to help them quit.

We want this guideline to help everyone who smokes, but especially those people who smoke heavily or who find it most difficult to stop, by making sure:

  • people are asked about their smoking and encouraged to stop every time they see a health or social care worker
  • extra help to quit is targeted at people with the highest risk of harm from smoking, such as people in hospital or with serious health conditions like heart or lung disease, pregnant women, mothers with young children and their families, and people in prisons
  • people are given help to decide which stop smoking aids would suit them best and can be offered the option they prefer
  • people using, or interested in using, a nicotine-containing e-cigarette to quit smoking are advised about these products
  • services with trained staff are available to help people quit, including stop smoking services and telephone quitlines, and these are promoted widely to people who need them.

Making decisions together

Whenever they talk to you about stopping smoking, health and social care professionals should give you clear information, talk with you about the different options and listen carefully to your views and concerns. They should also:

  • talk to you about your smoking in a way that is sensitive to your needs and circumstances
  • ask you about any other smoking aids you have tried before
  • encourage you to quit in the future if you are not ready to stop yet, and give you advice about ways to reduce harm from smoking.

If you can’t understand the information you are given, tell your health and social care professional.

Read more about making decisions about your care.

In the news

Read NICE news about how this guideline will help.

Help people make informed decisions when they want to quit smoking, says NICE and Public Health England.

NICE and Public Health England have published updated guidelines for health practitioners and stop smoking services on the best ways to help people quit smoking.

Where can I find out more?

NHS Choices has more information about stopping smoking.

Find your nearest local Healthwatch.

The organisations below can give you more advice and support.

NICE is not responsible for the content of these websites.

We wrote this guideline with people who have been affected by smoking-related health conditions and staff who support them. All the decisions are based on the best research available.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-2909-2


This page was last updated: 28 March 2018