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The team does not and cannot offer clinical advice. If you have any urgent medical enquiries we urge you to contact your GP, or NHS Direct at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk or by calling 0845 4647. In an emergency call 999

NICE consults on draft guidance to help people who can't quit smoking in one step

How to reduce the harm from tobacco use for people who don't feel able to quit smoking in one step is covered in National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) draft guidance, which opens for public consultation today (Wednesday 24 October).

The NICE public health draft guidance makes provisional recommendations for using licensed nicotine-containing products to support people who want to cut down gradually before quitting, those who want to smoke less and those who want to stop smoking for a specific period of time, such as during the working day.

The cost to the NHS in England of treating smoking-related illnesses is an estimated £2.7 billion a year. The harm caused by smoking is due to the toxins and carcinogens in tobacco smoke, not nicotine. However, nicotine is addictive, which is why people find it so difficult to stop smoking. One in five adults in England smoke, with the prevalence highest among 20 to 34 year olds where over one in four smoke. Around 67% of people who smoke say they'd like to quit.

Professor Mike Kelly, Director  of the  NICE Centre for Public Health Excellence,  said: Â“Smoking tobacco is responsible for over 79,000 deaths in England each year and children's vulnerability to second-hand smoke is well documented. If you are a smoker, quitting smoking is the best way to improve health, and quitting in one step is most likely to be successful. However some people - particularly those who are highly dependent on smoking - may not feel able (or don't want) to do this. Harm reduction approaches provide an alternative choice, and are more successful when used with licensed nicotine-containing products. Methods such as ‘cutting down to quit' may appeal to people who feel unable to quit in one step. ‘Smoking less' is an option for those who are not interested in quitting smoking, although the health benefits are not clear. However, for some people this can kick-start a gradual change in behaviour that eventually leads them to quit smoking.

 For more on this see the NICE website.

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The team does not and cannot offer clinical advice. If you have any urgent medical enquiries we urge you to contact your GP, or NHS Direct at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk or by calling 0845 4647. In an emergency call 999