Many nurses already provide an invaluable service in smoking cessation all over England. The prevalence of smoking has reached an all-time low of 18.4 per cent meaning less than one in five people smoke.
Yet the support of health professionals is needed more than ever to target people who need help the most, such as those with mental health issues, the poor and homeless, pregnant women, black, minority and ethnic (BMI) smokers, and young people.
In the last couple of years footfall through stop smoking services has dropped and this may be explained in part by the increase in use of e-cigarettes, also known as vaping. Some consider this a huge opportunity in reducing morbidity and mortality, while others consider it disadvantageous to public safety and a potential pre-cursor to smoking.
For nurses the first option should always be to recommend NHS support and licensed therapies: nicotine replacement therapies (NRT), Champix or Zyban. This article will look at the pros and cons of e-cigarettes (currently unlicensed), and primary care nurses' role in discussing its use following the latest guidance.
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