Review decision: 

The guidance has been partially updated.

Next review: To be scheduled

For recommendations on the use of smokeless tobacco see NICE guideline PH39 (September 2012).

This guidance updates and replaces NICE technology appraisal 39 (published in June 2001). It cross-references and is consistent with NICE guideline PH1 (published in Macrh 2006), NICE guideline PH5 (published in April 2007) and NICE technology appraisal 123 (published in July 2007).

This guidance is for NHS and other professionals who have a direct or indirect  responsibility for services that help people to stop smoking. It may also be of interest to members of the public who wish to quit.

The guidance advises the NHS, local authorities and their partners on the range of services that should be available for everyone who smokes or uses tobacco in any form. In particular, this includes pregnant women, those aged under 20, manual workers and people who are on a low income or income support.

It also gives advice on the training and education that managers and staff in stop smoking services need.

Recommended treatments that have been proven to be effective, either separately or combined, include:

  • brief interventions by a GP and other practitioners working in a GP practice or the community (including advice, self-help materials and referral for more intensive support)
  • individual behavioural counselling
  • group behaviour therapy
  • pharmacotherapies (for example, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT),varenicline or bupropion)
  • self-help materials
  • telephone counselling and quitlines
  • mass-media campaigns to get the stop-smoking message across – using a combination of, for example, TV, radio and newspaper advertising.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.