Nurses’ role in smoking cessation interventions
For those people who would like to stop smoking, nurses can play a key role, with nurse prescribers helping deliver life-changing treatment.
In a recent audit carried out by the British Thoracic Society (BTS) (2022), nearly 80% of people were asked about their smoking status. However, only 45% were then given the briefest of advice, 15% were offered referral to a smoking cessation service, and 9% were seen by a smoking cessation practitioner. While in hospital, despite staff knowledge of their addiction, only 5% of patients were provided with the interventions recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2022)—namely, nicotine replacement therapy, varenicline and vaping.
In order to improve the implementation of smoking cessation services in hospitals, and to share the responsibility with primary care, the BTS (2022) made several recommendations. These included:
According to the British National Formulary, smoking cessation interventions are cost-effective and can prolong life and should be offered as appropriate, alongside behavioural interventions (Joint Formulary Committee, 2022). The appropriate therapy can be given according to the person's likely commitment to certain therapies, including: availability of counselling and support; previous experience of smoking cessation treatments; consideration of appropriateness of pharmacotherapy in light of other medications they are taking or conditions they are living with; and the person's preference.
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