Health Professionals

Stop Smoking: Fact File

The National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT) supports the delivery of effective evidence-based tobacco control programmes and smoking cessation interventions provided by local stop smoking services.

Stop Smoking Practitioner training and assessment is available:

The training programme is built around evidence-based behaviour change techniques that provide an understanding of the factors involved in smoking and smoking cessation, and include practical interventions that we know will make a significant difference to the chances of your clients becoming permanent ex-smokers.

The training programme has been shown to increase practitioners’ knowledge, develop their skills and lead to improved practice.

The training programme includes all of the information that you need to pass the online assessment. Upon successful completion of the assessment, you will become an NCSCT Certified Stop Smoking Practitioner.


The 2016 NCSCT briefing for electronic cigarettes suggests that health professionals provide advice that includes:

  • E-cigarettes provide nicotine in a form that is much safer than smoking.
  • Some people find e-cigarettes helpful for quitting, cutting down their nicotine intake and/or managing temporary abstinence.
  • People previously using e-cigarettes while smoking (e.g. to reduce the number of cigarettes that they smoke) may need to consider changing devices and/or nicotine concentrations when making a quit attempt.
  • Although some health risks from e-cigarette use may yet emerge, these are likely, at worst, to be a small fraction of the risks of smoking. This is because e-cigarette vapour does not contain the products of combustion (burning) that cause lung and heart disease, and cancer.

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are designed for users to inhale nicotine without most of the harmful effects of smoking. They deliver nicotine by heating and vapourising a solution that typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol and/or glycerine, and flavourings. As there’s no burning involved, there’s no smoke. Whilst the use of e-cigs is not without health risks, it is thought to be far less hazardous than smoking cigarettes.


The independent evidence review published by Public Health England (PHE) concluded that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful to health than tobacco and have the potential to help smokers quit smoking. It also found no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking for children or non-smokers.

E-cigs are widely available across the country, but under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations of 2016, they are not allowed to be sold to people under the age of 18.