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Pharmacy Smoking Cessation Program (Ontario)

by National Coordinating Office | Aug 31, 2011

The Pharmacist’s Role in a Smoking Cessation System

Effective September 1, 2011 to Ontario Drug Benefit recipients

The Ontario Government supports the role of the pharmacist as part of an integrated team that provides an enhanced level of care to their patients. The Smoke Free Ontario Strategy also recognizes pharmacists as a valuable support for Ontarians who want to quit smoking. Effective September 1, 2011 community pharmacists will be funded by the Ontario Government for their expertise in providing a smoking cessation program to Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) recipients.

Ontarians visit their community pharmacist for prescription dispensing services as well as clinical advice on their medications including over-the-counter drugs and herbal therapies through the MedsCheck program. The convenience of the local pharmacy and access to a health professional like the community pharmacist, are vital components in a quit smoking program. The community pharmacist is familiar with the drug therapy needs of their patients and they are key advisors to the public on all areas of wellness.

Pharmacists will be available to support patients who want to quit smoking by adding to the choice of options for counselling, by providing quit smoking materials and by improving access to smoking cessation services for those with chronic diseases.

A smoking cessation program will see the community pharmacist providing a one to one support service and advice to ODB recipients who want to give up smoking. The program includes a readiness assessment where a patient may enrol in the smoking cessation program with the pharmacy as well as a first consultation and a number of follow-up counselling sessions over a one-year period.

The pharmacist will help to facilitate access to and where appropriate supply, appropriate stop smoking drugs and aids. For example, if a patient could benefit from prescription therapy to stop smoking, a pharmacist should engage the patient’s primary prescriber to determine if a prescribed therapy is appropriate.

The objectives of the Pharmacy Smoking Cessation program include:

  • To align with the principles of other smoking cessation programs in primary health care and community settings to provide smokers with a continuum of care.
  • To communicate to the public regarding the value of smoking cessation services by community pharmacists and promotion of availability of services
  • To improve access to and choice of stop smoking services, including advice on smoking cessation therapy and options, support tools, resources and follow-up.
  • To provide patients with a consistent, evidence-based standard of care based on a screening mechanism, cessation counselling, structured documentation and support.

Original Source: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

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