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Thursday 27th June 2019

Nicotine patches should be on prescription

24th October 2012

A phased approach to helping people stop smoking has been recommended by the government’s drugs watchdog.


The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has suggested that smokers should give up gradually by inhaling less of each cigarette and stopping smoking at designated places such as at home or work.

It has also said nicotine patches and gum should also be prescribed to smokers to try and help them quit gradually, which sees a shift from the previous position which said smokers could only be prescribed nicotine replacement products if they were to go cold turkey and stop smoking completely.

Professor Mike Kelly, director of the Nice Centre for Public Health Excellence, said that with smoking responsible for over 79,000 deaths in England each year, stopping smoking in one step was still likely to be the most successful approach.

However, he acknowledged that not everybody was able to do this.

He said: “Methods such as ‘cutting down to quit’ may appeal to people who feel unable to quit in one step. ‘Smoking less’ is an option for those who are not interested in quitting smoking, although the health benefits are not clear. However, for some people this can kick-start a gradual change in behaviour that eventually leads them to quit smoking.”

Professor John Britton, chair of the RCP tobacco advisory group, said: “Smokers smoke for nicotine, and since tobacco smoke is by far the most harmful available source of nicotine, switching to alternatives as a short - or long-term - substitute is the obvious healthier choice.”


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