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Child nicotine patches approval

27th February 2008

Children who have a serious smoking problem should be permitted to receive nicotine patches, according to an NHS advisory body.

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New guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical excellence (NICE) suggest that the advice should apply to children as young as 12.

It comes in advice for health authorities on helping people give up smoking and while children have been offered patches in trials in the past, this is the first time it has been listed as an official policy in England.

For adults, NICE says nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as patches and gum should be available, with counselling and group therapy and the option of drugs such as varenicline and buproprion.

However, drugs to help stop smoking should not be made available to people under 18 or pregnant women.

Children aged 12-17 should be given information, advice and support to stop smoking, say the guidelines, and offered nicotine replacement therapy “when there is clear evidence of nicotine dependence.?

NICE clinical and public health director Professor Peter Littlejohns said: “Most smokers want to quit and in this guidance we aim to ensure that the right services are put in place to help them to stop.?

The minimum age to buy cigarettes is now 18, though it is estimated that prior to the limit being raised from 16, 9% of 11 to 15-year-olds were smokers.

The anti-smoking group ASH welcomed the new policy.

Director Deborah Arnott said: “The guidance is also important in recognising that many young people need help in stopping smoking.?

 

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