Written by Svea Oglive, Smoke-Free Coordinator

Your colleagues share real techniques they use to counsel smokers on breaking their addiction.

How do you counsel patients on smoking cessation? Are you nervous about how or when to start?

In our last smoke-free survey, we heard from hundreds of staff who shared the real techniques and talking points they use to counsel smokers about the value of breaking their addiction. Among the ice breakers they shared: “I ask how they started smoking.” “I share my own experience of quitting.” “I explain it hinders their healing.” “I tell them it’s never too late.”

Fraser Health supports a smoke-free environment at all of our sites. To protect the health of employees, patients, clients, residents and visitors our Smoke-Free Policy prohibits smoking and vaping – including smoking or vaping of marijuana (medical or recreational), e-cigarettes, and other vapour products – in all of our buildings, property and grounds, and parking lots.

Smoking cessation is an important part of supporting our policy. Each health care provider has the responsibility to start smoking cessation conversations and offer nicotine replacement therapy with all nicotine dependent patients, clients and residents in our care. We need to ensure that nicotine replacement therapy is routinely offered, regardless of their interest in cessation, to help patients, clients and residents abstain from smoking while in our care. Addressing their tobacco use is one of the best things you can do for their health.

To help you start conversations with your patients, in-person Clinical Smoking Cessation Support and Withdrawal Management training is being conducted at all acute care sites. Modules specific to clinical leaders, front line staff and non-clinical staff are now available. Check out the brand new Smoke-Free Policy and You module available now on CCRS (search: “Smoke Free”). Additional new training modules on clinical smoking cessation intervention and nicotine withdrawal management will soon be available to all staff on CCRS.

Addressing someone’s tobacco use can be a challenging topic, but there are many empathetic and effective ways to open the discussion. Here are some of the ice breakers your colleagues have used to talk to their clients and patients about tobacco. Could one of these 10 approaches help you in your work?

  • “I say ‘what can I do to support you?’”
  • “I ask them if they want to work on a plan and if they want help doing it.”
  • “I show them my QuitNow app, with my own quit stats, including how much money I’ve saved from not buying cigarettes.”
  • “I say the single best decision you can make for your health is to stop smoking.”
  • “I say ‘I know it’s stressful that you are in hospital, but smoking isn’t allowed on the site.’”
  • “I tell them it is not good for their healing if they have had surgery.”
  • “I relay my own experience of becoming a non-smoker almost five years ago after smoking for 24 years. I don’t pressure, but I educate and relate.”
  • “I highlight that their hospital stay is a good time to stop smoking, and I offer them the patch."
  • “I work in mental health where patients often smoke to cope. I say I’m not asking you to quit smoking, but the hospital is a non-smoking environment, so while you are here we can help you manage with nicotine replacement products.”
  • “I tell them they don’t have to do it alone.”

We want to empower you to find a way that works best for you to help your patients and clients stop smoking. Register now for a Clinical Smoking Cessation Support and Withdrawal Management CCRS online training course. You will learn information you need to share with your staff to help them confidently conduct a Brief Tobacco Intervention, provide training on nicotine replacement therapy options and usage, and outline resources that can be offered to patients needing support.

Check out our Smoke-free Policy FHPulse for a complete guide to tobacco training and other learning modules and clinical support. Plus, access our FHPulse site list of smoking cessation resources, including educational videos on how to motivate patients to quit.

Share your own conversation starters for helping someone take the first steps toward being tobacco-free in the comments below and inspire someone else.

Did this article offer you inspiration and resources to help you speak with patients about quitting smoking? Take our poll.

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