Pharmacists are being placed front and centre of QUIT4october, a new Lung Foundation Australia pilot smoking cessation and social media initiative launched this month.
Throughout September, Lung Foundation Australia will appeal to pharmacists to encourage people who smoke to sign up to the new pilot smoking cessation program, QUIT4october, a month-long initiative dedicated to helping people to quit smoking with the support of their pharmacist in October.
“With three million Australians (nearly 16% of those aged 14 or older) continuing to smoke tobacco and two in every three lifelong smokers dying prematurely from their habit, the QUIT4october program is launched at a crucial time when the recent tax rise increase may trigger people who smoke to stop their dependence on tobacco,” says Lung Foundation Australia CEO, Heather Allan.
QUIT4october is being piloted in four areas across Australia including Ballarat (Vic), Toowoomba (Qld), Dubbo (NSW) and Ryde (NSW).
The campaign is urging people who want to quit smoking to visit their local pharmacist to discuss best practice smoking cessation as outlined in the Australian smoking cessation guidelines.
This includes developing a personalised quitting plan consisting of behavioural counselling combined with pharmacotherapy for those addicted to nicotine.
Dr Colin Mendelsohn, Tobacco Treatment Specialist, says: “Only three to five per cent of unassisted quit attempts are successful compared to up to 30% of those that use best practice treatment.
“Professional support enhances motivation, teaches the individual practical quitting skills and builds a supportive environment for the quitting journey.
“Pharmacotherapy eases the physical discomfort of nicotine withdrawal, reduces cravings and is recommended for all nicotine dependent smokers who are ready to quit.”
Central to the pilot program is an interactive website. People wanting to quit smoking should visit www.quit4october.com.au to gather information about smoking cessation, conduct a virtual lung health check and download a checklist to support their conversations with their pharmacist.
In addition, people are encouraged to upload photos to QUIT4october to show how quitting is having a positive impact on their lives.
The initiative will be promoted via radio advertising and at a series of local community events. Posters and brochures will be displayed at various locations in each area, including pharmacies.
A healthcare professional toolkit aimed at providing practical and evidence-based advice to support pharmacists in their conversations with patients quitting smoking is also available from www.quit4october.com.au.
“Pharmacists should identify smokers at every opportunity, advising them to quit in a clear, personalised non-confrontational way,” says Dr Mendelsohn.
“People who smoke see their pharmacists as having a key and supportive role in the smoking cessation journey.
“If your patient achieves their goal of being smoke free for 31 days, they will be at least five times more likely to become a permanent ex-smoker.”
Dr Mendelson will host a series of educational events for pharmacists and other healthcare professionals in:
- Ballarat (Victoria): Registration at 6:00pm, Tuesday 8th September 2015; Mercure Ballarat Hotel & Convention Centre, 613 Main Road, Ballarat;
- Toowoomba (Queensland): Registration at 6:00pm, Wednesday 9th September; 7 Spring Training Centre, 881 Ruthven Street, Toowoomba;
- Dubbo (New South Wales): Registration at 6:00pm, Thursday, 10th September 2015; Western Plains Cultural Centre, 76 Park Wingewarra Street, Dubbo; and
- Ryde (New South Wales): Registration: Wednesday, 16th September 2015; Curzon Hall, 53 Agincourt Road, Marsfield.
To find out more about your local healthcare educational event contact Elle McGlynn at tel: (02) 9928 1542 / 0425 319 321 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.