NICE has released a quality standard focusing on reducing harm reduction. The standard highlights how smoking remains the “single greatest cause of preventable illness and early death in England,” and was the cause of 79,100 deaths of adults aged 35 and over in 2011.
The initiative of the quality standard is to contribute improvements in: cotinine levels in children that are exposed to tobacco smoke, the consumption of products that contain tobacco, smoking prevalence, life expectancy being at 75, smoking related mortality and morbidity and smoking related hospital admissions.
The standard establishes four key statements. The first quality statement explains how people who are unwilling or not ready to stop smoking are offered less harmful approaches to smoking. The second provides advice on nicotine and explains how people who are unwilling or not ready to quit should be given information about nicotine options and the health problems linked to tobacco.
Advice on nicotine products is the focus for the third statement, which emphasises that healthcare practitioners can reduce the harm of smoking by supporting people who smoke to use licensed products that contain nicotine.
The fourth and final statement identified in the quality standard explains integration of stop smoking services and harm reduction approaches.