The end of Stoptober

So, we’re at the end of Stoptober and arriving at the tenth anniversary of the smoking ban which has had a great impact on everyday life in the UK.  Since the ban, the number of smokers in the UK has dropped by almost two million.

Gone are the days of not being in a smoke-hazed environment and having to consume another person’s by-product with clothes no longer smelling of smoke every time you arrive home, through no choice of your own.  At the beginning of the ban, it was not irregular to be left inside on your own as a non-smoker, looking after everyone’s bags whilst they huddled outside in the cold. But over the last decade, more and more people have reduced smoking, converted to e-cigarettes, or stopped altogether.

This year over 76% of adults surveyed support the Government's activities to limit smoking or think they could do more, while only 11% believe the Government is doing too much.

With even more encouraging data showing that for the first time there are more ex-smokers (1.5 million) who use e-cigarettes than current smokers (1.3 million).

So, what can you do to support someone to quit smoking?

We can all do something, even outside our guise of healthcare professionals, after all if someone stops smoking for 28 days, they are five times more likely to quit for good.

If a patient smokes, the best thing they can do for their health is to stop. Smokers expect to be asked and advised on their smoking habit and we have compiled the following tips to help you support your patients through these questions and, hopefully, make a true difference to their habit.

As a nurse:

  • You need to ask, advise and refer
  • Ask about your patients smoking history, document and keep asking at every consultation
  • Provide brief intervention advice and ensure there is accurate documentation of your advice it
  • Refer to a NHS stop smoking service available in a wide range of locations (including hospitals)
  • Reinforce the smoke-free policies, it is everyone’s role to help smokers.

If you’d like further support as to how you could advise your patients, please contact the team on 0330 024 1345 or

About the author
Ash Higgs Managing Director

Ash Higgs is the Managing Director of MCG Healthcare. He has a long-demonstrated history working in recruitment and has now been involved in the medical industry for over 5 years. During this time, he has gained a strong understanding of the issues that both Primary & Secondary Care are facing regarding the recruitment of healthcare professionals.

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