Smoking is the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the world. In the United States, there are estimated 420,000 smoking-related deaths reported annually. Each year 40% of smokers in the United States attempt to quit, but only 6% achieve long-term success. If they succeed to quit, they can greatly reduce their risk of developing and dying from tobacco-related diseases.
In smoking cessation programs, pharmacists have been playing an important role. While there is a 5A’s approach for clinicians, pharmacists can do no less than clinicians do. The 5A’s are “Ask about tobacco use; Advise quitting; Assess readiness to quit; Assist smokers ready to quit; Arrange follow-up.” Although pharmacists are not clinicians, they can ask about tobacco use, refer to clinicians, do counseling, teach them to use medications correctly and assess their compliance and therapeutic effects. In some studies, the results even show that pharmacists’ intervention in smoking cessation programs can improve patients’ quality of life. Therefore, we, as future pharmacists, should always put efforts into helping patients in smoking cessation programs.
In your countries, is there a certificate for pharmacists or other healthcare providers to prove that they are qualified enough to help people quit smoking?
In Taiwan, there is a certificate called "smoking cessation educators." If pharmacists or other healthcare providers take enough courses, pass tests and give presentations, they can get the certificate.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigarette smoking-attributable mortality and years of potential life lost—United States, 1990. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep1993;42(33):645–9.
- Nancy A Rigotti, MD. Overview of smoking cessation management in adults. Post TW, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc. https://www.uptodate.com (Accessed on April 05, 2019.)