Stoptober is an annual campaign aimed at helping people with their efforts to give up smoking. Support is available in many forms: smokers who are trying to quit can download the Stoptober app, sign up for daily motivational emails, join an online chat group, get a personalised quit plan, or read stories from ex-smokers and others who are trying to kick the habit. But why is it so important to support people on their journey from smoker to ex-smoker?

The negative impacts of smoking are well documented and affect multiple organ systems. Smoking is a risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and a leading cause of lung cancer. Brief interventions at opportunistic moments can give people who smoke the incentive to forego a lifelong habit. A diagnosis of either COPD or lung cancer can provide a valuable teachable moment to motivate people to give up smoking and take steps towards improving their health.

In July 2019, NICE updated its guideline on the diagnosis and management of COPD to reflect new evidence around inhaled triple therapy for stable COPD and systemic corticosteroids for managing exacerbations. One of the most important interventions for people with COPD is to offer treatment and support to stop smoking—this should be covered at every clinical contact, along with four other fundamentals of COPD care.

Dr Karen Sennett draws out the key learning points for primary care following the update. The article includes a new visual summary of non‑pharmacological management and use of inhaled therapies for people with COPD, and was developed by NICE to be used alongside the guideline. 

Cancer, COPD, and depression in children and young people will be covered in sessions delivered by experts at our Guidelines Live event next month. Excitement is building here at MGP as the final preparations get underway. It is not too late to book your place to attend on one or both days, and there are a number of educational bursaries still available for healthcare professionals. Guidelines Live will take place at Olympia London on 19–20 November—for more details visit: www.guidelines.co.uk/live19