Breaking the habit

Terri Saunders
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Patients who are smokers are being encouraged to quit

Shauna Humphries, tobacco reduction co-ordinator with the Central Tobacco Awareness Coalition (left) and Amanda Reid, health promotion nurse and smoking cessation facilitator with Central Health, break a cigarette in two to symbolize the efforts their groups are making to get people in central Newfoundland to quit smoking. Photo by Terri Saunders/The Beacon

When people in central Newfoundland visit a health-care professional for any reason, one of the questions they’re going to be asked is if they smoke cigarettes.

If the answer is yes, the patient will be encouraged to quit, and pointed in the direction of resources in the community.

“Central Health has been selected as a project site for the Registered Nursing Association of Ontario’s National Nursing Best Practice Smoking Cessation Initiative,” said Amanda Reid, a health promotion nurse and smoking cessation facilitator with Central Health.

“They have come up with a lot of best practice guidelines that help us get the best standard of care for our clients.”

Reid said the question is asked of the patient, and advice and information is passed to the patient if they say they’d like to quit smoking.

“Even though it’s a nursing best practice guideline, it can be applied to any health-care professional,” she said.

“It goes hand in hand with our policy here at Central Health because we have a smoke-free properties policy. Each time a client comes into Central Health, they’re to be asked if they are a smoker. If they say yes, they’re to be advised that they should quit to better their health, and they’re to be given assistance.”

Reid said there are a number of options for people who want to quit smoking.

“If they’re in the hospital, they are offered nicotine replacement therapy and self-help materials, and they are offered a referral to programs in the community,” she said.

“That’s our Ask, Advise, Assist, Arrange policy. It’s a one- to three-minute protocol that we want all of our clinical people to be using.”

Nationally, the smoking rate is 17 per cent. Newfoundland’s smoking rate is 20 per cent.

Shauna Humphries is a tobacco reduction co-ordinator with the Central Tobacco Awareness Coalition. She said the Newfoundland and Labrador Smoker’s Helpline (1-800-363-5864) is a great resource available to all residents of the province.

“It’s run by the Newfoundland and Labrador Lung Association,” she said, adding that some callers may not be familiar with how the help line works.

“It’s a free service available to everybody, and we really want to stress to people that you don’t have to quit while you’re on the phone.

“A lot of people are nervous, thinking they’re going to pressure you and tell you that you have to quit, and they’re going to make you do things,” she said.

“It’s not at all that way. It’s very tailored to the person, and it really goes through and finds out why you smoke, what your triggers are, what you find stressful, and then helps you to develop a quit plan that will work for you.”

Humphries said the average person who quits smoking will make seven attempts before they are successful.

“We, as health-care professionals, recognize that a lot of people cycle through and relapse many times before they’re successful,” she said. “But during each quit attempt, they learn something.”

Reid said the smoking cessation initiative is another way Central Health is trying to promote good health.

“Quitting smoking is a very personal decision, and addiction looks different for every person,” she said.

“People smoke for a variety of different reasons. We want to make sure we are doing our part to give them every opportunity to quit, and give them every support possible.”

The Beacon

Twitter: @Beacon1Reporter

Organizations: Registered Nursing Association of Ontario, Central Tobacco Awareness Coalition, Newfoundland and Labrador Smoker Newfoundland and Labrador Lung Association

Geographic location: Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • marvelous
    January 30, 2012 - 04:20

    Geez, I thought it was a free world. This non-smoking fascist trend is just ridiculous. I will admit that people twenty years ago had to deal with a lot of second hand smoke in public places but that has changed. Sounds like Kelsey you should get a ticket book and become a vigilante to police those spray painted non-smoking zones around government building doors. Oh wait, you don't have to because there are enough rude people harassing people who are smoking already, its trendy and progressive. Want to have a cigarette break, scuttle to the back alley with the rest of societies undesirables. You don't get to discriminate against smokers and dock them pay because YOU don't like their habit. I agree with Sam there are a lot greater issues with hard drugs and alcohol and their effect on society than a few smokers. Smokers pay the most tax on their tobacco and when they get lung cancer they die in six months after being diagnosed, so their taxes they have paid on their tobacco over 20 years is probably paying for the lights to be on in the Janeway. Just my opinion.

  • Sam
    January 23, 2012 - 23:19

    Alcohol is a much bigger problem than smoking, affecting lives of the users and their families and others, The cost to society is also much higher.

  • Kelseylundrigan
    January 23, 2012 - 13:06

    I think the first place to start is with your staff and clean house. I went to a Govt dept./ to do the drivers written test in St. John's and had to walk through the door with staff smoking in front of the doorway area. I had to walk through that exhaled stink. I mentioned it to a supervisor on site and he said that is all he could do. I would give them a letter and if that doesn't work, try two weeks without pay and they will find somewhere else to smoke off Gov. property. It is a waste oif time and gov. MONEY if staff and supervisors don't follow the PLAN. Rules for smoking in the door way of hospitals expecially the Janeway is a farce. Discussed Parent