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10 May 2024

Supporting NHS staff to stop smoking in the North East and North Cumbria


A scheme to support NHS staff in our region to stop smoking, has been evaluated by researchers supported by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) North East and North Cumbria (NENC). The findings have been shared with health and care professionals from across the region, to support the successful delivery of future services.

The NHS England-funded North East and North Cumbria NHS Staff Tobacco Dependency Offer (STDO) was piloted between December 2021 and September 2023, across a range of settings including NHS foundation trusts and local authorities.

The service provided behavioural support, 12 weeks free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) including access to a vape, and free access to the premium version of the NHS SmokeFree app – and over 1,900 staff accessed support to make a quit attempt during the pilot.

The evaluation of the scheme, led by researchers based at Newcastle University, involved a survey and interviews with NHS staff who engaged with the pilot – to understand their views, perspectives, and experiences.

The evaluation led to the development of key recommendations for local authorities and NHS trusts offering similar services, including:

  • Provide on-site support and ensure promotions reach all staff groups
  • Enable NHS staff to access additional support resources, such as peer support groups or a digital offer, and also ensure flexibility in appointments;
  • Ensure support is high quality, and that advisors have enhanced knowledge of treatment options to support troubleshooting and ease of access for service users;
  • Create opportunities for service users to regularly feedback on their experiences, in order to allow continuous service improvement.

Read more about the findings and recommendations on our Evidence Hub.

In April 2024, the Smokefree NHS Taskforce hosted a webinar in to share findings from the evaluation.

Watch the webinar

Download a policy briefing and webinar slides at the bottom of this page.

The NENC Smokefree NHS Taskforce now plan to work with partners to apply the lessons learned from the evaluation, and embed smoking cessation workforce support as a routine offer across the North East and North Cumbria.

This research was jointly funded by North East and North Cumbria ICB Tobacco Taskforce and Newcastle University, and supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration North East and North Cumbria.