This article looks at the impact of smoking on health and an overview of smoking cessation techniques (pharmacological and other options) and highlights current evidence with particular reference to recent NICE guidance and pathways.1 It is a helpful resource for those new to Primary Care or those who just need to have their knowledge updated.
Health impacts of smoking
For many years now, we have been aware of the burden of smoking on patients and on the NHS with evidence of this first published in the US in 1964.2 Smoking has been shown to cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, and lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis.3 It is estimated that smoking caused an average of 86,500 deaths a year in 1998-2002.4
Worldwide cigarette smoking is linked to more than five million deaths per year.5 If the trend continues, more than eight million deaths will be attributed to smoking each year, by 2030. In 2005/2006 smoking was estimated to cost the NHS £5.2 billion which is 5.5 per cent of the total healthcare cost.6