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Treating Tobacco Dependency in the North East and North Cumbria

Tobacco is the single largest cause of early deaths and disability and contributes to widening inequalities in our North East North Cumbria (NENC) populations. The NENC Smokefree NHS/ Treating Tobacco Dependency Taskforce works across the ICS to reduce the harm caused by tobacco through a multi-strand approach that prioritises tobacco dependency treatment, prevention and wider tobacco control strategies.

Current workstreams

The NENC Treating Tobacco Dependency Taskforce is overseeing the roll-out of the NHS Tobacco Dependency Treatment Service across all ten Foundation Trusts in the NENC Integrated Care System (ICS). This will ensure by 2023/24 all people admitted to hospital that smoke, including pregnant smokers in the maternity pathway, will be offered support from NHS funded Tobacco Dependency Treatment Services, including specialist support from dedicated Tobacco Dependency Advisers. You can find out more about the three service pathways below:

The North East North Cumbria Smokefree NHS/ Treating Tobacco Dependency Taskforce has developed a position statement on nicotine vaping to outline key evidence on vaping in relation to tobacco smoking and to provide guidance on promoting vaping to support smoking cessation.

The position statement can be accessed here and can be read alongside the Association of Directors of Public Health North East position statement on nicotine vaping.

The NENC ICB is currently rolling out a staff tobacco dependency offer available to all NHS staff working who smoke and work in NHS Foundation Trusts.

Staff are able to access

  1. Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT),
  2. A free e-cigarette / vape and
  3. 12 weeks specialist behavioural support free of charge through local arrangements in place.

This programme is backed by research which shows that providing cessation support for staff is an important way to shift culture and increase support for the treating tobacco dependency agenda. It also will improve the health of the NHS workforce and reduce pressures in the system. To find out more you can email  caitlin.barry1@nhs.net

The NENC ICB has been selected to ‘stress-test’ a primary care model of stop smoking support for those with severe mental illness (SMI), ahead of national roll-out from 2023/24. The region has chosen 4 pilot sites to trial the primary care model. These areas are

  • Northumberland
  • South Tyneside
  • Durham (Chester Le Street)
  • Middlesbrough

The findings from the EIS pilot sites will inform the wider roll out. For further information, contact guy.noaks@nhs.net

The Smokefree NHS/ Treating Tobacco Dependency Taskforce is focused on driving and supporting sustained, system-wide treatment of tobacco dependency in the North East & North Cumbria in partnership with Local Authority Tobacco Commissioners & Public Health teams. Together, the region is working towards a vision in North East & North Cumbria for every smoker to make at least one significant quit attempt per year, with Tobacco dependency being discussed by every Health Care Professional they come into contact with.

Working with regional and national partners such as Fresh, Office of Health Improvement & Disparities (OHID), Northern Cancer Alliance, ASH and Cancer Research UK, the Treating Tobacco Dependency Taskforce supports wider comprehensive tobacco control strategies to reduce adult smoking prevalence and narrow health inequalities. This work supports the national ambition for a Smokefree 2030.

Work is ongoing within the NENC tobacco programme to explore the role that NHS primary care can play in prevention and to work with wider VCSE organisations to improve health outcomes for our populations. This area of work will be a key focus for Smokefree NHS/ Treating Tobacco Dependency Taskforce in 2023/24.

If you smoke, you’re significantly more likely to quit for good with the right help and support.

  • To find your local stop smoking service, click here.
  • To view details of NHS Trust-based Tobacco Dependency Treatment Services, click here.

For further advice and information on quitting, visit www.freshquit.co.uk

  • OHID Fingertips: Includes data on a arrange of health & wellbeing themes - fingertips
  • NHS Digital : Includes statistics on various metrics including stop smoking services outcomes, smoking at time of delivery– NHS Digital SSS Data -
  • OHID tobacco dashboard: Brings together data from Fingertips and NHS digital to provide an easy to understand, visual overview of tobacco data Dashboard link here

  • ASK – all patients if they smoke
  • ADVISE – the best way to stop
  • ACT – provide a referral or offer behavioural support and drug treatment

A free training module is available from ELearning for health  or direct  NCSCT e-learning

The NCSCT Training and Assessment Programme includes all of the core competences (knowledge and skills) needed by stop smoking practitioners in England to help smokers to quit. There are modules designed specifically to support those working in the maternity and mental health Tobacco Dependency Treatment pathways. Healthcare practitioners can also access topic-specific modules on NRT, vaping and second-hand smoke: https://elearning.ncsct.co.uk/england

Local face to face training delivered by iPiP has been made available to tobacco dependency advisors in 2022/23, in line with recruitment progress made by Trusts.

Further training opportunities will be made available by the TTD Taskforce on an ongoing basis. For details, contact tiffany.ghee@nhs.net

Implementation Plan

The NENC ICS Implementation Plan for the LTP Tobacco Dependency Treatment Services sets out the scope, governance and delivery aims of this work. For information about local NHS Trust Tobacco Dependency Treatment Service plans please contact the tobacco dependency team in the named Trust.


Visual representations of the three Tobacco Dependency Treatment pathways can be found below:



  • A short briefing outlining the current SMI smoking cessation pilot can be found here
  • The ADPH Vaping Position Statement can be found here
  • The NENC Smokefree NHS/ Treating Tobacco Dependency Taskforce Vaping Standard ( coming soon)
  • The latest NENC Smokefree NHS / Treating Tobacco Taskforce quarterly briefing can be found To be added to the circulation list, email susan.swindon@fresh-balance.co.uk.
  • The updated briefing paper from the NCSCT summarises the latest evidence and related practice guidance on the effectiveness of combination NRT

Further resources

  • The latest OHID e-cigarette review can be found here
  • Making Conversations Count for All (full report and exec summary): This report examines the impact of improving GP delivery of smoking cessation interventions across socioeconomic groups, over a 20 year period.


Fresh has been funded by the NENC to run the regional Don’t Wait stop smoking campaign across the North East and North Cumbria. The latest wave runs December- January 2022/23.

#Don’tWait has been running since 2020 across the North East and North Cumbria.  The campaign is fronted by North East respiratory consultant and clinical chair of the Smokefree NHS / Treating Tobacco Dependency Taskforce, Dr Ruth Sharrock.

See the toolkit for detailed plans and access to comms resources.

The recording and slides from a recent webinar which provided an overview of the community pharmacy smoking cessation service can be found here.


Smokefree NHS- Introduction to the NENC Tobacco Dependency Treatment Service.




Get involved

  • Knowledge Hub: The NENC Smokefree NHS Knowledge Hub is regularly updated with key documents and resources.
  • NHS Futures: There is a wealth of information and guidance for all aspect of the NHS Tobacco Dependency Treatment Service on the NHS Futures platform, which provides support to Trusts nationally.

It is strongly recommended that all colleagues and partners involved in the Treating Tobacco Dependency/Smokefree NHS agenda are registered to access both the Smokefree NHS Knowledge Hub and NHS Futures platform.

Smokefree Pledge: The Smokefree 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. Sign up here -The NHS Smokefree Pledge - ASH:

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