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.
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.
- VIDEO: Dr Graham Warren - The impact of smoking on oncology treatment response
- Alfred Health: An approach to supporting people who smoke: A guide for health services
- Alfred Health: Alfred Health totally smoke-free
- Royal College of Physicians: Hiding in plain sight: treating tobacco dependency in the NHS. London: RCP, 2018.
- Pipe AL, Eisenberg MJ, Gupta A, Reid RD, Suskin NG, Stone JA. Smoking cessation and the cardiovascular specialist: Canadian Cardiovascular Society position paper. Canadian Journal of Cardiology. 2011 Mar 1;27(2):132-7.
- Mullen KA, Manuel DG, Hawken SJ, Pipe AL, Coyle D, Hobler LA, Younger J, Wells GA, Reid RD. Effectiveness of a hospital-initiated smoking cessation programme: 2-year health and healthcare outcomes. Tobacco Control. 2017 May 1;26(3):293-9.
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.