Joining the fight

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Quit Victoria and PSA are joining forces to utilise the power of pharmacists to help people quit smoking

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Victoria and 80% of smokers report wanting to kick their deadly addiction.

However, less than one in five smokers use therapies that have been proven to help people quit.

Quit Victoria and the PSA have announced a new partnership, with the goal to tap into the power of pharmacists and increase the number of people quitting successfully.

“Pharmacists are highly respected in the community and could play an even bigger role in helping smokers to quit,” said Quit Victoria Director Dr Sarah White.

“International research has shown there are good strategies for improving quitting conversations, such as displaying resources to trigger interested customers to inquire about quitting methods.

“This partnership has been designed to not only provide pharmacists with new tools to help their customers, but also to alert customers that pharmacists have a lot to offer when it comes to increasing the chances they can quit successfully.”

PSA Victorian Branch President Ben Marchant said the partnership with Quit Victoria would assist pharmacists across Victoria to provide even better care and advice.

“A lot of patients don’t understand that some prescription medications and some common health conditions, such as diabetes or wound healing, are adversely affected by tobacco use,” said Mr Marchant.

“This focus on the pharmacist’s role in quitting will help patients understand why it is so critical pharmacists ask about smoking, and demonstrate how pharmacists can do so much more than simply hand over patches or gum.”

The partnership will include:

  • Development of in-pharmacy materials such as signage, information and referral mechanism with pharmacists;
  • Free CPD training across metro and regional Victoria starting in June; and
  • A public education campaign to encourage consumers to talk to their pharmacist about quitting.

Quit Victoria is a partnership between VicHealth, Cancer Council Victoria, the State Government of Victoria and the Heart Foundation.

In January 2018, Quit Victoria asked 58 Victorian pharmacists about their attitudes, perceptions and behaviours towards discussing quitting smoking with customers via an online survey.

The survey revealed:

  • 90% said they had succeeded in their efforts to influence a person’s smoking.
  • 90% of pharmacists believe supporting smokers to quit is part of their job, as they are in an ideal position to give smokers the practical, evidence-based information they need to quit for good.
  • Only 10% report customers ‘often’ asking about quitting.
  • Pharmacists decide to provide customers who smoke tobacco with assistance to stop smoking primarily if the customer requests it (95%), is purchasing smoking cessation products (95%) or if the customer has a smoking-related illness (78%).
  • Six in 10 pharmacists say a public education campaign encouraging people who smoke to talk to their pharmacist would make them more likely to approach customers with quitting advice.

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