Chris Steele (doctor)

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This article is about the doctor. For other people named Chris Steele, see Chris Steele (disambiguation).

Dr. Chris Steele, MBE, is a British medical doctor well known for his many media appearances.

He is the resident doctor on ITV's This Morning daytime magazine show. He appeared on the very first show in 1988 and appears on the show every week.

Steele attended St Aidan's Catholic School in Sunderland. He qualified as a doctor in 1968 and has worked as a general practitioner in Didsbury ever since.

Work on nicotine addiction[edit]

He became interested in treating his patients who smoked in the early 1970s and is now recognised as an international expert in smoking cessation and nicotine addiction. He has lectured on this subject in over 27 countries around the world, making many media appearances.

Fight to have nicotine gum prescriptions paid by NHS[edit]

In 1984, he was faced with a dilemma regarding the prescribing of nicotine gum (Nicorette) for smokers who wanted help in giving up their cigarettes. At that time in the UK, nicotine gum was a prescription only medicine (POM). It was in fact the only POM amongst thousands that could not be prescribed at NHS expense, in other words it was not reimbursable under the socialised medicine system that was in effect at that time in the UK.

A Department of Health committee, known as the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances recommended that Nicorette should not be allowed on NHS prescription, because it decreed that "Anti smoking preparations are not regarded as drugs." Dr Steele regarded that nicotine was most certainly a drug and a powerful one at that, and so prescribed nicotine gum on NHS prescriptions for those motivated smokers who wanted to give up smoking. As a result of "breaking the rules", Steele faced various disciplinary hearings eventually having to present his case to a Tribunal of Independent Referees.

At that tribunal a statement for the Secretary of State for Health read as follows: "Smoking is a habit it is not a disease or condition even though It may be a contributary cause of, or may aggravate, a disease or condition such as bronchitis, carcinoma of the lung, arteriosclerosis and so on." The tribunal's conclusions to "Is tobacco dependency a disease?", dated 6 July 1984, which Steele's supporters regarded as a vindication, were as follows:

  • "We find it ought to be so considered."
  • "We find that nicotine prescribed for this purpose has both a pharmacological and a therapeutic effect."
  • "We find that this method of treatment is the most effective that has so far been evolved."

Work on ITVs This Morning[edit]

Steele has appeared on ITV's daytime magazine show This Morning since its first episode in 1988 and has remained the resident health expert since then.

Notable events[edit]

He has notably pioneered the use of the TV medium to inform and educate the public in health matters. He has shown live on air:

He also developed skin cancer on his cheek; the procedure to remove this was also done live on air.[1]

YouTube controversy[edit]

Subsequently Steele has pioneered the use of the Internet to raise awareness of important health issues. He has posted videos to YouTube such as a self-examination video, Live breast self-examination video and a live testicular self-examination video.

However this has caused controversy in the UK media as YouTube now rates these videos as "suitable for over 18s only" This was covered by the tabloid newspaper The Sun.[2]

Weight Loss[edit]

Steele produced a weight loss system for This Morning in 1989. This proved very popular with viewers, with over 150,000 viewers requesting details. This resulted in Steele being approached by a friend of Charlie Walduck in 2004 who at that time weighed over 44 stone, and was unable to walk alone. Over the next year Walduck lost over 20 stone in weight, a record in the UK. Walduck reportedly now weighs less than 16 stone as of January 2011. He ran the London Marathon in 2006 and has now completed eight Great North Runs. He continues to help others with weight loss issues and is great friends with Steele.


Steele's son, Andrew Steele, is an international athlete competing in the 400 m for Great Britain.

Charitable work[edit]


External links[edit]