Stopping smoking can make a big difference to a patient’s health. It is never too late to stop smoking. By stopping smoking in middle age, before having cancer or some other serious disease, it is possible to avoid most of the increased risk of death due to smoking.
If a patient smokes the best thing they can do for their health is to stop smoking. Smokers expect to be asked and be advised, a health event can be a trigger to quit. These tips will support you to make a difference to your patients:
Stop smoking programmes include behavioural support and medication and last for approximately 12 weeks.
NHS Stop Smoking Servicesare available in a range of locations from chemists, local amenities, doctors’ surgeries to hospitals.
Other smoking cessation programmes include:
The RCN is a member on the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on smoking and health and has been supporting the lobbying on guidance and support on e-cigarettes and how they can best be used to support smoking cessation.
See the government position on e-cigarettes and support for a regulatory framework. See also the RCN's policy briefing: Revision of European legislation on Tobacco Products Directive. RCN Position Statement (2013).
A report to the UK All Party Parliamentary Groups has summarised evidence relating to key issues surrounding e-cigarettes.
There has been considerable discussion on e-cigarettes and one of the key issues for nurses is how to advise on their use with other smoking cessation support measures. The following statement from the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists ARNS, who work in partnership with the RCN, provides additional information and material.
The European Union and its Member States have taken various tobacco control measures in the form of legislation, recommendations and information campaigns. Tobacco consumption is the single largest avoidable health risk in the European Union. It is the most significant cause of premature death, responsible for nearly 700,000 deaths every year. Around 50 per cent of smokers die prematurely, on average 14 years earlier.
The Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group has published a new document: Use of electronic cigarettes in pregnancy: A guide for midwives and other healthcare professionals.The briefing is intended to provide a summary of the evidence on electronic cigarettes, with suggested responses to some frequently asked questions about their use during pregnancy. Public Health England has also published a blog: Achieving a smokefree pregnancy: can e-cigarettes help? See also: RCN Midwifery Forum.
Cancer Research UK has some useful documents and briefings on the role of e-cigarettes, the evidence to date on their safety, impact and role in smoking cessation.
ROSPA have developed guidance on the safety implications of vaping in the home, see: Use of e-cigarettes (vaping) in the home: advice for parents. There is also a good blog on safety advice for parents and families from Jo Locker, Tobacco Control Manager, Public Health England, see: Vaping in the home: advice for parents.
The RCN is part of the Smoke Free Action Coalition which works to lobby on tobacco control and smoking cessation support. The Coalition lobbied on standardised packaging which comes into force in May 2016.
Resources on standardised packaging published by Public Health England include:
The NHS provides free support to quit smoking, including signposts to all services and a range of resources.