Hiding in plain sight: Treating tobacco dependency in the NHS: A report by the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians

Royal College of Physicians, June 2018

Report from the Royal College of Physicians that addresses the harms and costs arising from smoking in patients, and argues for a new approach to treating their addiction.  It identifies giving smokers the help they need to quit smoking while in hospital will save lives, improve quality of life as well as increasing life expectancy, and help to reduce the current £1 billion per year cost to the NHS of smoking by patients and staff.

It also argues that:

  • Treating tobacco dependency is not just about preventing disease: in many cases it represents effective disease treatment. Clinicians working in all areas of medicine can improve their patients’ lives by helping them to quit.
  • Current models of delivering stop smoking services separately from mainstream NHS services, while successful in the past, may now not be the best approach because the patient has to seek help themselves
  • Most health professionals receive little or no training in treating smokers
    The NHS does not collect data on smoking treatment delivery, or have a payment tariff for treating tobacco dependency
  • Smoking treatment also tends to be squeezed out, even in the management of diseases caused by smoking, by other, less cost-effective interventions.

Click here to view the full report.