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Press Release

Launch of NHS Smokefree Pledge

11 Jan 2018

Organisations across the NHS and the world of public health today gathered in Parliament to declare their support for a smokefree NHS.

NHS organisations signing the NHS Smokefree Pledge [1] are making a commitment to help smokers in their care to quit and create smokefree environments that support them to do so. The Pledge has been developed by the Smokefree Action Coalition [2] and endorsed by Steve Brine MP, the Public Health Minister, Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England, and other health leaders [3].

Smoking is the leading cause of premature death and disease, and kills 79,000 people every year. [4] The NHS has a key role to play in reducing the number of people who smoke, yet smoking places a major burden on the NHS with 1 in 4 patients in hospital smoking [5]. The Government estimates that the cost of smoking to the NHS in England is £2.5 billion every year. [4]

The commitments in the NHS Smokefree Pledge include:
- Treat tobacco dependency among patients and staff who smoke as set out in the Tobacco Control Plan for England
- Ensure that smokers within the NHS have access to the medication they need to quit in line with NICE guidance on smoking in secondary care
- Create environments that support quitting through implementing smokefree policies as recommended by NICE.

Steve Brine, Public Health Minister, said:

“While smoking rates are at an all-time low, it is still our country’s biggest preventable killer—so we are absolutely committed to helping people quit for life. The NHS Smokefree Pledge supports the bold ambitions set out in our new Tobacco Control Plan. It is fantastic to see the NHS making such a powerful statement to help us push for a smokefree generation.”

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said:

“Most smokers want to quit and we’re seeing good progress on lower smoking rates. To build on this we’d now like to see NHS organisations across the country sign up to the NHS Smokefree Pledge.”

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England, said:

“The NHS admits a patient every minute because of a smoking related disease and 1 in 4 beds are occupied by a smoker. Given that most smokers want to quit, this is an unparalleled opportunity for NHS staff to do all possible to help them quit. NHS England has committed hospitals and mental health services to become truly smokefree by 2019 and I am delighted that the Smokefree Action Coalition has made it possible for each of them to publicly pledge their commitment to this.”


Notes and Links:

The Smokefree Action Coalition is a group of more than 300 organisations working together to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco. The Coalition is administered by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).


[1] The NHS Smokefree Pledge

[2] Smokefree Action Coalition website –

[3] The NHS Smokefree Pledge has been endorsed by:
NHS England: Simon Stevens, Chief Executive
Department of Health: Steve Brine MP, Minister for Public Health and Primary Care
Public Health England: Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive
Royal College of Physicians: Professor Jane Dacre, President
British Medical Association Board of Science: Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, Chair
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health: Professor Neena Moodi, President
Royal College of GPs: Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of Council
Faculty of Public Health: Professor John Middleton, President
Association of Directors of Public Health: Andrew Furber, President

[4] Towards a smoke-free generation: tobacco control plan for England. Department of Health, 2015.

[5] Agrawal. S, Mangera. Z British Thoracic Society Smoking Cessation Audit Report, 1 April-31 May 2016.