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Keep repeating quit message, says NICE

GPs should remind patients who smoke 'at every suitable opportunity' of the health benefits of quitting, draft NICE guidelines recommend.

If patients do not wish to attend stop-smoking services they should be given information about other proven alternatives. The guidance advises GPs can prescribe either nicotine replacement therapy or bupropion, although it adds that a technology appraisal on varenicline is taking place.All front-line health service staff should be trained to offer advice on smoking cessation and to make referrals to stop- smoking services. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, helpline counsellors and other groups are all identified as suitable for training.The institute states in its draft: 'Smoking is estimated to cost the NHS £1.5bn a year. Although smoking prevalence has dropped sharply since the 1970s, this decline has been much less pronounced in the past decade. Current estimates suggest it is dropping by 0.4% a year.'The draft guidance is open to consultation until 8 June.

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