Smoking Cessation in Health Services

As smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and disease in Australia, people who smoke are vastly overrepresented in Australia’s primary, tertiary and community health system.

Despite the significant burden smoking places on the health system, the long lag time and the general lack of immediate critical symptoms mean that it is not often viewed as a clinical priority. However, not treating smoking and nicotine dependence results in sub-standard care.

In the healthcare setting, ongoing and untreated smoking has been strongly linked to:

  • More (and longer) hospital stays
  • Peri and post-operative complications
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Poor wound healing and infection
  • Reduced cancer survivability and other oncology complications
  • Increased or altered metabolising of pharmaceuticals
  • Clinical aggression
  • Relapse to alcohol and/or drugs
  • Worsened mental health
  • Increased mortality

Without professionals in the health system encouraging and promoting smoking cessation, many smokers may not receive the help required to reduce and quit. An episode of ill health is one of the most common motivators to initiate a quit attempt.

For tips on how to start a discussion about smoking with your patients, watch the below video by leading smoking cessation specialist, Dr Andrew Pipe.

Helpful resources

These resources can help you to integrate evidence-based smoking cessation into your health service. You can also contact us for more information on how to get started.

Supporting your smoke-free policy

Since 2008, smoking has not been permitted on any Department of Health premises or grounds. This applies to all staff, patients and visitors. Despite this, health services sometimes find that people are unaware of the policy.

This 5-minute video provides staff with ideas for how to approach people who are smoking in smoke-free areas and how to inform them of the WA Health smoke-free policy.

Further reading from Tobacco in Australia

  1. Health effects of smoking
  2. Role of health professionals and community services in smoking cessation
  3. The economics of tobacco control

Looking for other information?

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Quit Apps

Free apps such as My QuitBuddy can be a fun and practical way to quit and stay smoke-free.

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Real Quitting Experiences

There are more ex-smokers today than there are smokers. Find out how they did it by reading their stories.

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Latest News

We publish blogs on many different tobacco-related topics, you're sure to learn something new.

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Free Quit Support

Talk to the Quitline

Quitline is a confidential advice and information service for people who want to quit smoking. For the cost of a local call (except mobile phones), a trained advisor can help you to plan and develop strategies to quit smoking and stay stopped. You can also use webchat during opening hours.

My QuitBuddy App

The My QuitBuddy App tracks your quitting progress, such as days smoke-free, cigarettes avoided, health gained and dollars saved.

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Quit for You - Quit for Two App

The Quit for You - Quit for Two App provides support and encouragement to help you give up smoking if you are currently or are planning to become pregnant.