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Helping smokers to quit

Helping smokers to quit

Most smokers would like to be able to quit, and smokers who access Stop Smoking Services are up to four times more likely to quit than people not choosing any support at all. It’s proven that using a Stop Smoking Service gives smokers their best possible chance to stop for good.


Fresh provides direct support on both the commissioning and provision of effective Stop Smoking Services and provides a data benchmarking role, as well as regular campaigns and public awareness to remind smokers why and how to quit.


Since NHS Stop Smoking Services were set up in 1999, more than 300,000 people in the North East have quit smoking with their support.  The North East regularly sees a much higher proportion of its smoking population setting a quit date than any other region. But we also recognise not all smokers are the same and different methods suit different people.


Fresh hosts quarterly meetings of Stop Smoking Service commissioners and a forum for North East Stop Smoking Services to share good practice.Partners can click through to our Professionals Area to see minutes, agendas, presentations and briefings. 


Smoking and pregnancy



Around 18% of women in the North East are still smoking at the time when they deliver their baby, despite the scientifically proven risks to the unborn child. Smoking can cause a greater risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Babies exposed to smoke in the womb are more likely to be born prematurely and with a low birth weight - resulting in breathing, feeding and other health problems.


Fresh is working to reduce exposure to smoke amongst unborn babies during pregnancy, and protect the health of mums-to-be, by working with midwives and Foundation Trusts across the North East to ensure pregnant women who smoke get clear messages on the risks and the best help to quit. We have commissioned the babyClear initiative to reduce exposure to smoke among unborn babies and work with midwives and hospital Foundation Trusts across the North East to ensure pregnant women who smoke get clear, consistent messages and the best help to quit.




  • Read our full Babyclear presentation from Fresh setting out the rationale and implementation of Babyclear with some encouraging early results.


Smoking and secondary care


Every year, smoking results in around 30,766 hospital appointments each year for North East residents aged over 35. The cost of these hospital admissions alone is calculated to be nearly £65.8 million per year.


Stopping smoking at any time has considerable health benefits, but for people using secondary care services, there are further benefits including shorter hospital stays and fewer complications. Secondary care providers have a duty of care to protect the health of, and promote healthy behaviour among, people who use, or work in, their services.


NICE published guidance on this topic, PH48 Smoking cessation in secondary care: acute, maternity and mental health services, in late 2013.


Fresh has supported all eight North East Acute Trusts to map their current practice and policy against this guidance, and has produced a local report on these findings. This has now informed locality discussions about how the NHS and those working in Public Health can work together to try to improve the experience of people admitted to hospital; both to protect non-smokers from the harm of secondhand smoke, but also to support smokers to manage their nicotine addiction during their stay.


In addition to the locality reports, Fresh has also produced a regional summary report of the key findings, and some Quality Standards to help inform good practice locally.


Smoking and mental health


In late 2014, Fresh in partnership with the Northern England Strategic Clinical Network has begun to work with the two North East Mental Health Trusts to support them in their implementation of the NICE guidance.


It is well established that people with mental health illness are more likely to smoke, and suffer from appalling health inequalities and significantly lower life expectancy, and smoking plays a significant role in this. As well as patients smoking, we are also working closely with the Trusts to ensure that staff are encouraged to quit, and to deliver positive messages to patients about the benefits of quitting.