MHSP Reports

Reports and submissions

This page contains information about Mental Health & Smoking Partnership reports, a key messages document for members of the Partnership and our position statement on e-cigarettes.


Progress towards smokefree mental health services: Findings from a survey of mental health trusts in England, Action on Smoking and Health (2019)

This report presents the findings of a survey of NHS mental health trusts in England conducted by ASH for Public Health England in Spring 2019. It examines whether the Government’s objective for all mental health trusts to be smokefree by 2018 has been achieved. It describes both the extent to which smokefree policies and support to quit smoking has been adopted and the reality of local practice in delivering these policies.

The survey finds that:

  • 1 in 5 mental health trusts still do not have a comprehensive smokefree policy in place, despite the Government deadline for implementation having passed last year
  • Staff behaviour often enables smoking, with staff accompanying patients on smoking breaks every day in 57% of trusts
  • In 55% of trusts, patients were not always asked if they smoked on admission
  • Only 47% of trusts offered the choice of combination NRT or varenicline in line with NICE best practice

Smokefree Skills: Community Mental Health (2019)
ASH analysis, based on a survey of mental health professionals (nurses and psychiatrists) working in the community, found that there is low awareness of very brief advice (VBA) among mental health nurses and psychiatrists; that prescribing medications for smoking cessation is not common practice amongst community mental health professional; and that a substantial proportion of nurses and psychiatrists reported they had not had any training in smoking cessation.

However, 88% of mental health nurses and 85% of psychiatrists who responded said that they both asked and recorded clients’ smoking status in line with the first step of the VBA model.

Although these results are only indicative, they reveal a shortage of support to quit smoking for people with mental health conditions. Our report includes recommendations for both NHS trusts and local authorities to improve their performance in this area.

A Change In The Air (2019)
In 2019, ASH, along with the Mental Health & Smoking Partnership and CRUK published the report A Change In The Air which examines the smokefree policies and practices of mental health trusts in England. It also measures and describes the progress being made by trusts in implementing the NICE guidance PH48.

Key findings from the report show that out of trusts surveyed: 

  • 79%  had implemented comprehensive smokefree policies prohibiting smoking in all interior and exterior spaces including hospital grounds;

  • 87% supported vaping by some or all of their patients but policies varied in where vaping was permitted;

  • Benefits of smokefree policies included more patients and staff quitting smoking, cleaner wards, better air quality, less staff time spent on smoking breaks, and improvements in patients’ physical health and wellbeing.

The Stolen Years (2016)
In 2016 ASH published The Stolen Years: Smoking and Mental Health Action report which highlights the disproportionately high rates of smoking among people with a mental health condition.

Whilst smoking rates have fallen significantly over the last 20 years, they have remained stubbornly high among those with poor mental health and around 1 in 3 cigarettes are currently smoked by someone with a mental health condition.

The report was endorsed by 27 mental health and public health organisations, many of whom have become key members of what became the Mental Health and Smoking Partnership, including The Royal College of Psychiatrists, and Rethink Mental Illness.

Submission to Advancing our Health: Prevention in the 2020s

In October 2019 the Mental Health and Smoking Partnership responded to the Department of Health and Social Care’s consultation ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s.’ 

You can read the submission here and learn more about the consultation here.

Mental Health & Smoking Partnership shared key messages

At the end of 2018 the Partnership completed work on a shared key messages document. The document is designed to ensure that the Partnership and its members deliver clear, consistent and accurate messages and the evidence to support them. You can download the Mental Health & Smoking Partnership shared key messages here.