Facilitating links and access to tobacco cessation resources and services
Research shows that tobacco use is a leading cause of preventable disease and death in Canada. In 2015, approximately 2,780 new cancers diagnosed in Alberta were linked to tobacco smoking.1 Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals with at least 172 of these being toxic and 69 known to cause cancer.2 Tobacco is the only consumer product that will kill at least one in two regular users when used as it’s intended to be used.3
Reducing or quitting tobacco use is one of the most important things people can do for a better health. Alberta Health Services and other organizations offer a variety of community-based resources and services to support people to make important changes for better quality of life.
Ways to get started
- Support organizations to bring in tobacco cessation programs to the community or custom in-house tobacco cessation programming tailored to different groups—ideally, free of cost. Partnership with workplaces and organizations can reduce barriers to access if they provide infrastructure (space) or enable employees to attend support groups (e.g., QuitCore) on their regular work hours. Organizational policies can be created or revised to accommodate such support. Policies and programs that can reduce out-of-pocket costs for treatment can increase the number of tobacco users who quit.4
- Educate social workers and healthcare providers about that drug treatment for tobacco cessation being either partially or fully funded for those receiving assistance through Alberta Works, Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), or have Treaty Status. This strategy is a financial incentive that can support lowering the costs of cessation programs for community members.
- Support workplaces to act on tobacco cessation in their setting. For example: support health insurance plans cover drug and other types of treatment for tobacco cessation for their employees, run awareness campaigns about tobacco reduction, or bring representatives of cessation programs and services to speak about the issue and resources available to all employees.
- Use existing or apply for community grants to fund drug treatment, counselling, and other types of tobacco cessation services for target groups, such as pregnant women or youth. You can start a community program or partner with existing ones.
- Highlight through brochures, pamphlets, posters and other materials placed in strategic settings and locations (e.g. libraries, pharmacies, supermarkets, post office, etc.) what resources and services are available locally and digitally. Reach out to community members, educators, and service providers to learn about or share such resources. Albertaquits.ca, is a hub where cessation supports such as local groups, phone support (including text), web-based formats, and self-help materials can be found. The variety of methods offered can help those looking for cessation support and meet different needs.5-6
- Create a partnership with a local pharmacist or other healthcare professionals who are willing to provide support in the form of information or treatment for cessation aides such as nicotine replacement therapy, and other medications that can help with tobacco cessation.7
- Partner with local pharmacists, family physicians, addiction counselors’ for information related to access to affordable cessation resources.
Amplify your impact
For further action to reduce tobacco use in the community, see
- Incentivized behaviour change for youth strategy,
- Policies and regulations strategy,
- De-normalization in schools (youth focus) strategy,
- Smoke-free public spaces and parks strategy,
- Awareness and education strategy,
- Awareness and education (youth based) strategy.
Multi-component community-wide interventions that increase awareness about and provide opportunities for tobacco reduction in your community will have greater impact than implementing one-off strategies.
Evaluation measures the impact of all the hard work that went into developing a community initiative. Evaluating impact examines:
- What you expect to learn or change
- What you measure and report
- How to measure impact
What you expect to learn about facilitating links and access to tobacco cessation resources and services may include:
- Increased number of sites displaying resources
- Increased number of workplaces or organizations doing awareness campaigns
- Increased financial support for tobacco cessation services/resources
- Increased access to tobacco cessation services/resources
References- Tobacco Cessation Resources and services
- Poirier AE, Ruan Y, Grevers X, Walter SD, Villeneuve PJ, Friedenreich CM, Brenner DR. Estimates of the current and future burden of cancer attributable to active and passive tobacco smoking in Canada. Preventive Medicine. 2019;122:9-19.
- United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). (2010). How tobacco smoke causes disease: The biology and behavioral basis for smoking-attributable disease: A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: Author. Accessed at: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/2010/
- Els, C. (2009). Tobacco addiction: What do we know, and where do we go? Accessed at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237260617_Tobacco_Addiction_What_do_we_know _and_where_do_we_go
- Community Preventive Services Task Force. Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure: Reducing Out-of-Pocket Costs for Evidence-Based Cessation Treatments. The Community Guide. 2012.
- National Guideline Clearinghouse. Guideline summary: Behavioral and pharmacotherapy interventions for tobacco smoking cessation in adults, including pregnant women: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. In: National Guideline Clearinghouse. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); 2015.
- Community Preventive Services Task Force. Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure: Mobile Phone-Based Cessation Interventions. The Community Guide. 2011.
- CAN-ADAPTT. Canadian Smoking Cessation Clinical Practice Guideline. Toronto, Canada: Canadian Action Network for the Advancement, Dissemination and Adoption of Practice-informed Tobacco Treatment, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; 2011.
- Gabble R, Babayan A, DiSante E, Schwartz R. Smoking Cessation Interventions for Youth. Ontario Tobacco Research Unit. 2015.