This website is intended for UK healthcare professionals only
User log in

Trial log in

Smoking cessation


Although the numbers of adults who smoke tobacco has declined sharply in recent decades, smoking remains the main cause of preventable morbidity and premature death: in England alone it led to an estimated annual average of 86,500 deaths between 1998 and 2002. Smoking is the main reason for the gap in life expectancy between social classes.

In addition to the better-known increased risks of cancers, respiratory diseases and coronary heart disease, tobacco smoking causes stomach and duodenal ulcers, erectile dysfunction, infertility, osteoporosis, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and periodontitis. It contributes to lower post-surgery survival rates, delayed wound healing and post-operative complications.

Simple advice from a healthcare professional can have a small but significant effect on a patient succeeding in giving up smoking, and helping someone to stop smoking is one of the most cost-effective interventions a practice nurse can make.

This resource, consisting of ten assessment questions at basic and intermediate levels, tests your knowledge of the factors that may improve your patients’ chances of successfully stopping smoking. Complete the resource, including the recommended reading and some or all of the suggested activities to obtain certificates for two hours of continuing professional development to include in your annual portfolio.

Aims and objectives

On completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Understand the economic and health burden that tobacco smoking inflicts on the UK
  • Discuss with a patient the risks of smoking
  • List the medications that the NHS can provide to help smokers to stop
  • Calculate a patient’s total lifetime consumption of cigarettes in ‘pack years’
  • Help a patient to construct a personal ‘Advantages & Disadvantages of smoking’ list

Recommended reading

NICE. Smoking overview (including preventing uptake of smoking in children and young people, tobacco harm-reduction approaches, cardiovascular risk, stop smoking services and smokeless tobacco cessation).

Practice Nurse featured articles

Smoking cessation – tailoring your approach to the individual smoker Darush Attar-Zadesh

Tobacco: Reducing the harm Dr Ed Warren

Stepwise approach to smoking cessation Darush Attar-Zadesh