In January 2018 the Smokefree Action Coalition launched the NHS Smokefree Pledge. The Pledge is designed to be a clear and visible way for NHS organisations to show their commitment to helping smokers to quit and to providing smokefree environments which support them. The Pledge has been endorsed by the Public Health Minister Steve Brine MP, and the Chief Executives of NHS England and Public Health England. It is an update to the NHS Statement of Support for Tobacco Control.
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.”
Photos from the launch event
Signing the NHS Smokefree Pledge
We encourage all NHS organisations to sign the NHS Smokefree Pledge. Signing the Pledge is simple and it is a visible commitment to a smokefree NHS. There is no formal process through which your organisation must go through. Simply commit to the actions listed in the Pledge, download and print a copy, and get it signed by the Chair, Chief Executive and medical director or clinical lead. Then display somewhere visible so that people can see your commitment to delivering a smokefree generation. A briefing note is available for you to download here – and don’t forget to let us know when you sign the Pledge so we can celebrate your commitment and provide supporting materials.
You can download a copy of the NHS Smokefree Pledge here. If you want to professionally print several copies for display across your organisation, you can download a version with printer marks and bleed, here.
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.”
Publicising your commitment
Once you have signed the pledge, you can add our display buttons to your website to show all of your visitors the positive action you’ve taken. The buttons are free and are available in square and landscape formats. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request your buttons.
It’s also worth telling your local community about signing the NHS Smokefree Pledge. The public is supportive of efforts to reduce the harm caused by tobacco. To make this easy for you, you can download a template press release here. If you’re sharing your good news on Twitter, be sure to use the tag #NHSPledge.
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.”
The NHS Smokefree Pledge
For reference, here is the text of the NHS Smokefree Pledge.
We acknowledge that:
• Smoking is the single greatest cause of premature death and disease in our communities;
• 1 in 4 patients in acute settings are smokers and that staff working for the NHS also smoke;
• Smoking places a significant additional burden on health and social care services and is impacting on the future sustainability of the NHS;
• Reducing smoking in our communities increases disposable household incomes and benefits the local economy;
• Reducing smoking amongst the most disadvantaged in our communities is the single most important means of reducing health inequalities;
• Smoking is an addiction largely taken up by children and young people, two thirds of smokers start before the age of 18;
• Smoking is an epidemic created and sustained by the tobacco industry, which promotes uptake of smoking to replace the 80,000 people its products kill in England every year; and
• The Government’s commitment to achieve a smokefree future and reduce smoking rates to less than 5 per cent;
• NICE public health guidance on tackling smoking particularly PH48, PH45 and PH26;
• Endorsement of this declaration by central government, Public Health England and others.
In support of a smokefree future we commit from this date …………………………to
• 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;
• Deliver consistent messages to smokers about harms from smoking and the opportunities to quit in line with NICE guidance on brief advice;
• Actively work with local authorities and other stakeholders to reduce smoking prevalence and health inequalities;
• Protect tobacco control work from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry;
• Support Government action at national level;
• Join the Smokefree Action Coalition (SFAC).