Review decision: 

The guideline will be fully updated including a review of the scope.

Next review date: TBC

This guidance is for all those responsible for the health and wellbeing of children and young people aged under 18. This includes those working in the NHS, local authorities, the criminal justice system and the wider public, voluntary and community sectors. It is also aimed at the private sector, in particular the retail industry and mass-media services.

The recommendations focus on mass-media and point-of-sales measures.  These should be combined with regulation, education, cessation support and other activities as part of a comprehensive strategy.

Mass-media campaigns can include TV, newspapers and the Internet. Point-of-sales measures take place where tobacco is sold, such as at the  shop counter.

Mass-media recommendations include the following advice:

  • Work in partnership with a range of organisations, as well as children and young people, but do not involve the tobacco industry. National campaigns should link to regional and local activities.
  • Consider messages that will lead to a strong emotional reaction, by portraying tobacco as a deadly product and including graphic images of its effect.

Two recommendations focus on illegal sales. These are aimed at national government, local authorities and trading standards bodies.

This guidance was amended in November 2014 to reflect the ban on the sale of tobacco from vending machines, which came into effect in October 2011 in England. 

The changes made were:

Recommendation 4 and 5 were amended to remove mentions of vending machines.

This guideline was previously called preventing the uptake of smoking by children and young people

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.