Skip to main content

Tobacco harm reduction

The Smokefree Action Coalition successfully campaigned for the government to publish the current Tobacco Control Plan for England. We are also committed to supporting the adequately funded implementation of the Plan at the national and local level. We also urge the government to continue to update and improve its strategy over time to ensure that it remains effective.

In June 2013 NICE published guidance on tobacco harm reduction for the first time. The guidance is intended to support those smokers who are highly dependent on nicotine and not ready or able to quit in one step. It provides Stop Smoking Services with an alternative approach to helping these smokers. It also makes recommendations about how we can create an environment in which more smokers take some action to address their smoking even if they are not yet ready to quit. This guideline has been updated and replaced by the NICE guideline on tobacco: preventing uptake, promoting quitting and treating dependence (NG209).

Information about electronic cigarettes is available here.

The recommendations cover:

  • Raising awareness of licensed nicotine-containing products
  • People in closed institutions
  • Self-help materials
  • Staff working in closed institutions
  • Choosing a harm-reduction approach
  • Commissioning stop smoking services
  • Behavioural support
  • Education and training for practitioners
  • Advising on licensed nicotine-containing products
  • Point-of-sale promotion of licensed nicotine-containing products
  • Supplying licensed nicotine-containing products
  • Manufacturer information on licensed nicotine-containing products
  • Follow-up appointments
  • Supporting temporary abstinence

You can download the slides from the NICE tobacco harm reduction guidance implementation seminar here (PDF).

ASH has been working with NICE, Public Health England, the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training, Smokefree South West and Fresh North East to support local areas to think through how this new NICE guidance can be implemented locally.

The materials below (PDFs) were developed with feedback from those working in local tobacco control across six regional seminars at the end of 2013. They are intended to support the implementation of NICE guidance on tobacco harm reduction.

  • Possible roles for local stakeholders against each of the NICE recommendations
  • A framework for local areas to use as they develop a local strategy for harm reduction
  • A short summary of actions local areas could take on tobacco harm reduction.

If you are a professional working in UK tobacco control then please get in touch and join our Yammer network by emailing