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New report calls for radical change in the way the NHS treats smoking

A major new report from the Royal College of Physicians calls for everyone working in the health service to identify smokers and help them to quit, a policy supported by PCRS.

It describes management of smoking in secondary care settings as ‘woefully lacking’ and recommends that opt-out rather than opt-in cessation services should become a routine component of all hospital care.

The 234-page report ‘Hiding in plain sight: Treating tobacco dependency in the NHS’ argues that responsibility for treating smokers lies with the clinician who sees them and that the NHS should be delivering systematic interventions for all smokers at the point of service contact.

The report addresses the harms and costs arising from smoking and recommends:   

  • Responsibility for smoking interventions is moved from local authorities back into mainstream NHS services in England.
  • Commissioners should treat tobacco dependence as a core NHS activity.
  • The current smoking status of all NHS patients should be ascertained and recorded at all points of contact with the NHS.
  • Training in smoking cessation interventions should become mandatory for the entire NHS healthcare professional workforce.
  • NHS facilities should be smoke-free. 

In a foreword to the report, Jane Dacre, RCP President says: “Smoking cessation is not just about prevention. For many diseases, smoking cessation represents effective treatment.”

PCRS Chair Noel Baxter says: The PCRS tobacco dependency campaign team published in the autumn 2016 PCRU a call to its members to start treating tobacco dependency as a long term relapsing remitting condition that usually starts in childhood. Those who still smoke are by consequence being seen most in the health care environment. We know we could be doing more and we know the interventions are clinically and cost effective when delivered in the ‘Right’ way. We welcome and fully support this RCP report.”

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PCRS Produced / Collaboration
Clinical Area: 
Tobacco smoking and nicotine
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