Given ‘the right tools,’ pharmacists and GPs are ‘confident’ smoking rates could be reduced in patients living with mental health conditions, a new survey has found.

The survey of over 500 pharmacists and GPs, commissioned by Nicorette manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, calls for better training and resources to help healthcare professionals support this reduction.

Almost half (44%) of respondents agreed that a lack of resources, support and time available was a barrier to addressing smoking cessation in patients living with long-term mental health conditions, with just 53% regularly offering interventions.

A resounding 81% said they ‘would be confident smoking rates could be reduced in these patients with the right tools,’ the company said.

Almost half (44%) said they would value guidance on how to initiate this type of smoking cessation conversation, while 59% felt a dedicated resource hub or website with relevant professional and patient materials would be helpful.

Half (52%) of the health professionals surveyed also agreed that access to scientific data or evidence which supports the benefits of smoking cessation in smokers with mental health conditions would be useful in supporting conversations with patients.

According to campaign group Action on Smoking and Health, an estimated 30% of smokers in the UK have a mental health condition, and a joint report by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Psychiatrists says more than 40% of adults with a serious mental illness smoke.

In advance of World No Tobacco Day 2022 (31 May), Nicorette - alongside the charity Mental Health UK- has created a factsheet and conversation guide for healthcare professionals and mental health frontline workers to help them support smokers living with a mental health condition to quit smoking.

Ms England said: ‘We share the vision of the UK Government and devolved administrations for a “smokefree” society and support the NHS long-term plan on addressing health inequalities and smoking cessation.

‘Through an important partnership such as this, we are committed to help ensure smoking cessation resources are available to help smokers to quit.’

Brian Dow, chief executive of Mental Health UK, said: ‘At Mental Health UK, our role is to deliver support and services for societal challenges that pose a threat to people’s mental health. Quitting smoking remains one of the biggest challenges for people living with mental health conditions, but it can bring huge benefits to people’s quality of life.

‘This partnership with Johnson & Johnson represents part of this long-standing commitment by providing actionable resources to support people on their journey to stop smoking - a key step in improving their physical and mental wellbeing.’

In March NHSEI announced pharmacies in England could start offering an advanced smoking cessation service.

It comes after research found the number of young people who picked up smoking had increased by 25% over the first national lockdown.

In October, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) published new guidance which paves the way for e-cigarettes to be prescribed to tackle smoking rates.