HSE Tobacco Free Ireland launches Stakeholder Consultation on Draft National Stop Smoking Clinical Guidelines


Today (13 October 2020) the HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme invites feedback from colleagues and stakeholders on the draft Clinical Guidelines for the Identification, Diagnosis and Treatment of Tobacco Addiction (National Stop Smoking Clinical Guidelines). The guidelines are available to view or download on the HSE website until 5pm on Friday 6 November 2020.

Dr Paul Kavanagh, HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme states: “Developing National Clinical Effectiveness Committee (NCEC) approved Stop Smoking Guidelines are a significant step forward for tobacco control in Ireland that will improve and assure the effectiveness of the HSE’s role in helping smokers quit.  The guideline sets out evidence-based statements on best practices to help people stop smoking and will assist healthcare professionals and service users make decisions together about care.  We want to ensure nobody who smokes misses out on the chance to get the best support from our healthcare professionals to help them quit.  These guidelines will strengthen the role of healthcare in responding to the needs of people who smoke, improve care for our service users and support every healthcare professional to contribute towards a Tobacco Free Ireland”.   

These will be Ireland’s first ever National Clinical Guidelines in the area of smoking cessation.  They will contribute to the implementation of Tobacco Free Ireland and Healthy Ireland policies, and will be integral to Sláintecare’s vision for a health service which prioritises population health and disease prevention. A Clinical Guideline Development Group was established by the HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme in April 2017. The group is chaired by Dr Paul Kavanagh and is comprised of clinical experts, senior managers, service providers, research experts and service user representatives.

Dr Paul Kavanagh, HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme continues: “To date, the Clinical Guideline Development Group has screened and critically appraised existing international guidelines and evidence so as to draft recommendations for the clinical guidelines. But we now need to hear views on these recommendations and, critically, how these can be translated into improved provision of care and better outcomes for health service users.   The next step in the process requires that these draft guidelines are widely communicated and consulted on by all concerned stakeholders. We welcome feedback from our colleagues and other interested parties.  Following this consultation we will finalise the guidelines, submit them to the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee and we look forward to endorsement by the Minister for Health.   Smoking continues to claim over 100 lives each week in Ireland and is responsible for over 1,000 episodes of hospital care each week.  These guidelines will help us take a further step towards Tobacco Free Ireland. ”

Clinical guidelines are systematically developed statements, based on a thorough evaluation of the evidence, to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate healthcare for specific clinical circumstances, across the entire clinical spectrum.

These guidelines:

  • Define best practice for care of people who smoke in the general adult population, as well as providing a special focus on helping women who are pregnant and users of secondary mental health services quit.
  • Recommend that healthcare professionals across our health services routinely ask people about their smoking, advise them to stop and provide or arrange safe and effective support.  These simple but powerful steps which when delivered routinely in care can increase the chance that someone will quit and remain smoke-free by 2 to 3 fold.  
  • Set out the recommended behavioural and pharmacological supports that can be arranged to help people who smoke quit.  The evidence supporting these recommendations using the HIQA Health Technology Assessment on smoking cessation interventions and more recent evidence reviews from the Health Research Board.

An implementation plan developed with support from the Centre for Effective Services describes how the HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme will help translate these guidelines into practice across health services in Ireland.  

For more information on the draft Clinical Guidelines for the Identification, Diagnosis and Treatment of Tobacco Addiction please see https://www.hse.ie/eng/about/who/tobaccocontrol/consultation-feedback-form-stop-smoking-guidelines/



Last updated on: 13 / 10 / 2020