Smoke Aware Initiative

What is the Smoke Aware Initiative?

The Smoke Aware Initiative was founded by the Expert by Experience team at Cygnet in partnership with the Collaborative Centre for Smoking Cessation. The project aims to reduce health inequalities through supporting meaningful smoking cessation and awareness within inpatient services.

Initially starting as a pilot at Cygnet Churchill led by Harrison Carnegie (Physical Health Lead), members now include numerous service providers and stakeholders from across the health and social care sector including NHS services and providers.

The Smoke Aware Initiative received the Health and Social Care Award from the Collaborative Centre for Smoking Cessation and has recently been shortlisted as a finalist for the HSJ Partnership Awards 2022 for the ‘Reducing Health Inequalities’ category.

How did the Smoke Aware initiative start and what does it involve?

E-cigarettes have been identified as being the most effective tool in combatting tobacco dependency; however safety issues caused by existing devices have caused confusion within the sector to date. Such concerns include but are not limited to; fire hazards, choking hazards, self-harm and overuse.

Smoking has also long been identified as a leading cause for violence and aggression stemming from flash points relating to restrictive practices around smoking. It was identified that the restrictions were as a result of concerns around safety.

Through co-production between service users, staff and stakeholders within Cygnet including collaboration with the University of Hull, Adact Medical (laboratory) and e-cigarette manufacturers, safe e-cigarette products were identified to the specification of being safe enough to be used within bedroom areas of inpatient mental health services.

Following a successful Quality Improvement project around introducing this at Cygnet Churchill and Cygnet Hospital Beckton, the Care Quality Commission identified this as being ‘best practice’ and subsequently, wider roll out was approved. This included the introduction of safety tested e-cigarettes and awareness workshops in addition to access to the Smoke Free app.

This created a safe way for service users to use devices in a least restrictive manner whilst benefiting from awareness around tobacco harm.
Our pilots to date have successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of these devices through seeing significant reductions in tobacco dependency as well as acts of violence and aggression.

Other benefits included; reductions in environmental damage and fire risks as well as improved service user/staff experience.

Vision and aims

The vision of the initiative is to address the gaps within existing smoke free directives across the sector through co-production, meaningful dialogue and action with service providers, people with lived experience and stakeholders.

The aims of the Smoke Aware Initiative are to:

  • Combat tobacco dependency and support positive physical health benefits of smoking cessation
  • Enhance the experience of individuals within inpatient services
  • Enhance safety within services through the use of safety tested devices created for mental health services
  • Raise awareness of digital cessation aids such as the Smoke Free App
  • Raise awareness of harm reduction through the use of Experts by Experience workshops and smoking cessation training
  • Meet ongoing and developing regulation/recommendations (CQC, PHE, NHSE etc.).

Smoke Free App

The Smoke Aware Initiative is a proud partner of the Smoke Free App which is a ground breaking application focused on using technology to support with tobacco harm reduction and smoking cessation.

The Smoke Free app is an evidenced based app used to support individuals throughout their cessation journey. Over 40 different evidence-based techniques help support individuals become, and remain, smoke free.

Individuals are able to see and celebrate how long they have been able to remain tobacco free, how their health is improving and how much money is being saved.
The Smoke Free app gives tips on dealing with cravings and has functions that enables the user to add notes to see what patterns can be identified and a graph to see how they’re decreasing. More than ten people stop smoking every hour with the Smoke Free app.

For further information on the Smoke Aware Initiative please contact: [email protected].