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In light of the growing evidence around the relative safety of e-cigarettes compared to tobacco, the RCGP and NICE recommend that e-cigarettes should be discussed as an option for smoking cessation when appropriate.

Evidence shows Stop Smoking Services are the most effective way for smokers to quit, and many are supportive of e-cigarettes3. But access to these services vary, and they may not be suitable for everyone. E-cigarettes could be especially appropriate for those who have tried and failed to quit previously using other methods such as licenced medicines or cold turkey.

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Watch/listen to the RCGP’s statement about e-cigarettes.

What’s new for stop smoking advice in 2018?

NICE guidance (NG92) on stop smoking interventions and services4 was updated in March 2018. Some of the new recommendations for primary healthcare staff include:

  • At every opportunity, ask people if they smoke and advise them to stop smoking in a way that best suits their preferences
  • Refer people who want to stop smoking to local Stop Smoking Services
  • Offer advice on using nicotine-containing products on general sale, including NRT and nicotine-containing e cigarettes
  • Explain that a combination of varenicline and behavioural support or a combination of short-acting and long-acting NRT are likely to be most effective
  • If a person is not ready to stop smoking, record the fact that they smoke and at every opportunity ask them about it again in a way that is sensitive to their preference and needs
  1. Kotz et al. 'Real-world' effectiveness of smoking cessation treatments: a population study. 2014.
  2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Clinical guideline 92: Stop smoking interventions and services, March 2018. www.nice.org.uk/ng92
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