ACT Govt, Guild in quit smoking pharmacy program

quit smoking: hands hold broken cigarette in front of blue sky

ACT Minister for Health Simon Corbell and ACT Pharmacy Guild CEO Margaret Beerworth are encouraging Canberrans who are looking to quit smoking to try a pharmacy-led smoking cessation program.

The new smoking cessation programs will be delivered through a network of about 20 community pharmacies in the ACT across 2015 and 2016.

“Smoking is a major risk factor for cancers, including lung cancer which is the most common form of cancer death in Australia,” Corbell says.

“In Canberra, smoking rates among adults have fallen around 4% since 2008. In 2011-12, only 15% of Canberrans reported being regular smokers.

“The ACT Government is committed to supporting a healthy, active and productive community by reducing demand, making cessation support available to those who need it, controlling supply and protecting non-smokers from the harmful effects of tobacco.”

The ACT has already taken considerable steps to protect the community from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke and to discourage the uptake of smoking. These efforts include:

  • implementing smoke-free policies at the Canberra Hospital, ACT Health facilities, Canberra Stadium, Manuka Oval and at ACT schools and colleges since 2008;
  • enacting legislation in 2010 to restrict smoking at functions for children and young people, and in outdoor eating and drinking areas;
  • reducing tobacco promotion in 2010 by prohibiting point-of-sale displays, advertising and promotion; and
  • enacting legislation in 2011 that prohibits smoking in cars when children are present.


The pharmacy-led smoking cessation programs are part of a two-year funded initiative of the Healthy Canberra Grants.

“This $138,000 program will have a multi-faceted approach aimed at increasing awareness of the health implications of tobacco use, and providing ACT residents with improved access, medication expertise and ongoing counselling to successfully quit smoking,” Corbell says.

“Quitting smoking is one of the best decisions people can make for improving their health, and receiving the right advice and support can help them achieve this goal.

“A focus on preventative health is crucial to Canberra’s future, and the ACT Government is proud to partner with the Pharmacy Guild–ACT Branch on this initiative.”

Margaret Beerworth says a local pharmacy is a comfortable and familiar location for people to receive the latest information about smoking behaviour and stop-smoking medications.

“A community pharmacy is an accessible health service in Canberra, with 73 local pharmacies and approximately 4,761,000 visits to pharmacies annually,” she says.

“Pharmacies supply cessation products to a large number of customers and are well placed to provide trusted advice and support, and evidence suggests that trained pharmacists can deliver cessation interventions and help smokers quit, and that record keeping programs delivered in this setting can be effective.”

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