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NICE update quality standards for treating tobacco dependence

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has updated quality standards for tobacco dependence.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has updated tobacco quality Standards for the first time since July 2015.

NICE has updated its quality standard to cover support and treatment to help smokers stop smoking, stop using smokeless tobacco and implement harm-reduction approaches for people who are not ready to stop in one go.

Published in December 2022, the updated quality standard has replaced the quality standards on smoking: supporting people to stop originally published in August 2013 and smoking: harm reduction which was later published in July 2015.

Within the quality standard, it describes the high-quality care in priority areas for needed for improvement.

Endorsed by Department of Health and Social Care, the new review identified that updated guidance on tobacco including preventing uptake, promoting quitting and treating dependence, as well as the quality standards on smoking and supporting people to stop and smoking harm reduction should be combined.

NICE stated that are five standards of services that need to be met to demonstrate quality. These are:

  • Statement 1 People are asked if they use tobacco at key points of contact with a health or social care professional.
  • Statement 2 People who use tobacco receive advice on quitting.
  • Statement 3 People who want to stop using tobacco are offered tobacco cessation support and treatment by a healthcare professional.
  • Statement 4 People who do not want, or are not ready, to stop using tobacco in one go receive support to adopt a harm-reduction approach.
  • Statement 5 People who smoke receive treatment to stop smoking on admission to hospital.

Why are Quality Standards used? NICE’s Quality Standards help services improve the quality of care provided. They apply in England and Wales and decisions on how they apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland are made by ministers in the Scottish government and Northern Ireland Executive.

NICE quality standards illustrate high-priority areas for quality improvement in a defined care or service area.

Typically, each standard consists of a prioritised set of specific, concise and measurable statements that provides an underpinning, comprehensive set of recommendations, and are designed to support the measurement of improvement.

Tracy Parr, Programme Director, London Tobacco Alliance and Stop Smoking London said:

“It’s pleasing to see that NICE has updated their Quality Standards and placed greater emphasis on supporting smokers with accessible cessation and support from expert practitioners.”

“The London Tobacco Alliance is working extremely hard to ensure London is a smokefree city by 2030 and tackling the inequalities tobacco causes our communities.”

“The updated standards published by NICE are a positive step in the right direction to helping smokers access support and driving down smoking rates in London.”

Read more about NICE’s updated Quality Standards here

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