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Insights into what people think: being smart with advice on smoking

02 December 2022
Volume 33 · Issue 12


Engaging people who smoke is key to supporting them to quit. Louise Ross looks at the latest insights into the thoughts and feelings of people who smoke and how nurses can use these to encourage quitting attempts

General practice nurses are in a prime position to help patients who smoke to think about quitting. New insights into the thoughts, feelings and behaviour of patients who smoke can help general practice nurses tailor their approach. This can lead to better success in engaging patients in a conversation, which can in turn lay the foundations for a radical improvement in their health.

The UK is admired internationally for its determination to tackle smoking; in 2019, only around 14% of adults in the UK smoked (Office for National Statistics, 2019; Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), 2021), and more can be done to accelerate this trend, to support the national ambition for a Smokefree 2030 (Smokefree Action Coalition, 2022). The fall in smoking rates has been achieved with a comprehensive range of tobacco control measures, including smokefree legislation, raising the age of sale for tobacco, banning cigarette displays and plain packaging. The UK's approach to the use of e-cigarettes (vapes) has also played a part. In September 2022, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID, 2022a) published the last in their series of evidence updates on nicotine vaping. This extensive report gives assurance on comparative safety when measured against smoking, and recommends that health professionals do all they can to encourage patients who smoke to switch to vaping (OHID, 2022a).

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