ASH response to NICE guidance on harm reduction

Wednesday 05 June 2013

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has today issued guidance on tobacco harm reduction. [1]   The guidance is focused on helping those people who are highly dependent on nicotine who may not be able or do not want to stop smoking in one step; those who may want to stop smoking without necessarily giving up nicotine; or those who may want to reduce the amount they smoke.

The guidance  recommends that smokers wishing to quit should use proven licensed stop smoking aids such as nicotine replacement therapies but recognises that other “clean” nicotine devices such as e-cigarettes offer a safer alternative to smoking.

Martin Dockrell, Director of Policy and Research at ASH said:

“ASH welcomes the NICE guidance. For many years the only advice given to smokers has been to quit completely and for good. Now there is good evidence that smokers who are unable to quit abruptly can take an important step along the way by cutting down or switching to non-tobacco sources of nicotine. That can help them quit in the long run, and in the short run help reduce the harm smoking causes them and those around them. We would recommend using licensed nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, gum or sprays because their safety and reliability is proven but if smokers are using unlicensed “e-cigarettes” they are still a much less harmful alternative to smoking.”



Notes and Links

[1]  ‘Tobacco: harm reduction approaches to smoking’ will be available at from 5 June.  Contact NICE press office for further information:  020 7045 2174 or 0845 003 7782.