Information for the public
Reducing harm from smoking
The quality standard for reducing harm from smoking is made up of 4 statements, which set out what organisations (such as primary and secondary healthcare providers, pharmacies and 'stop smoking' services) should do to help improve people's health and wellbeing and prevent illness.
1. People who smoke but aren't ready or don't want to quit are offered ways to reduce their harm from smoking that don't necessarily mean having to give up nicotine. These are called 'harm‑reduction approaches', and include things like cutting down, using licensed nicotine‑containing products (such as patches, gum and tablets) and stopping smoking for a while.
2. People who aren't ready or don't want to quit smoking are advised that nicotine isn't the primary cause of health problems associated with smoking.
3. People who aren't ready or don't want to quit smoking get advice about using nicotine‑containing products as a way of reducing the harm from smoking, both for them and for those around them. They are also helped to get hold of licensed nicotine‑containing products – for example, by being prescribed these products or being told where they can buy them.
4. People who use 'stop smoking' services have the option of harm‑reduction approaches if they don't think they can quit smoking in one step or don't want to quit.