Primary Care Networks – smoking and health inequalities


As PCNs develop they have been tasked with improving patient’s health and wellbeing. There are seven national service specifications, including tackling neighbourhood health inequalities

The NHS long term plan 2.8 highlights that while smoking rates are falling, smoking still remains the biggest modifiable risk factor and still accounts for more years of life lost.


  • Remains the greatest cause of health inequality.
  • Is the greatest cause of preventable cancers
  • Increases the risk of vascular events including dementia.
  • Smokers see their GP over a third more often than non – smokers
  • Smoking increases the risk of still birth, preterm birth and sudden infant death

The regional smoke free group is working with secondary care to help address this inequality. The Primary care smoke free subgroup is looking at how to refresh smoking cessation in primary care. Primary care still undertakes the vast majority of NHS patient contacts. The regional smoke free group have created a pledge for the PCNs around smoking. The aim of the pledge is to support smoking cessation as part of the PCNs plans.

Practices and PCNs agree to Tobacco Control Plan – delivery plan 2017-2022

  • Treat tobacco dependency among patients and staff as set out in the tobacco plan for England
  • Implementing evidence based guidelines on smoking cessation in patients using the NHS
    • All patients having their smoking status recorded
    • All patients offered timely treatment for tobacco dependence at every opportunity
    • All patients have access to a full range of pharmacotherapy and therapy behavioural support
  • Healthcare workers trained to give Very Brief Advice in line with NICE guidance
  • Actively work with local authorities and other stakeholders to identify clear pathways for support and access to treatment for smokers wishing to quit.
  • Create environments that support quitting through implementing smokefree policies as recommended by NICE.

Primary Care Network Smokefree pledge

Primary care guide; Diagnosis and Management of Tobacco Dependency

CRUK practice self-assessment tool for reducing smoking in primary care