Supporting patients to be smokefree
· Pilot program to encourage every smoker in hospital to quit
· All patients will be asked whether they smoke and then offered help to quit
· Victorian Coalition Government supporting healthier communities
The Supporting Patients to be Smokefree: an ABCD approach in Victorian health services pilot program was today showcased at the Best Practice for Brief Intervention forum at Alfred Health which focuses on smoking cessation.
Minister for Health David Davis said the program aims to identify the smoking status of every patient in the Victorian health system.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to protecting the Victorian community from tobacco-related harm,” Mr Davis said.
“About 4,000 lives are lost each year in Victoria as a result of smoking and it costs $2.4 billion in direct health costs and lost productivity every year.
“Hospitals and healthcare services have an important role to play in supporting tobacco control and reducing harm associated with smoking.
“This pilot program, which expands on Alfred Health’s success, will see hospitals ask the smoking status of every patient, provide advice about smoking cessation and record the action taken to help the patient quit.”
More than 90 per cent of inpatients at Alfred Health already have their smoking identified, nicotine dependency assessed, and are offered support soon after admission.
Ballarat Health Services, Bendigo Health, Goulburn Valley Health, Northeast Health Wangaratta, Kyabram District Health Service, Southwest Healthcare and Western Health will pilot this program.
The pilot project is being led by Alfred Health, and supported by Quit Victoria, the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Victorian Network of Smokefree Healthcare Services.
Mr Davis said health professionals are well placed to make a significant difference in reducing tobacco use because they are seen as credible sources of health information.
“There is evidence that brief advice from a health professional, lasting as little as a few minutes, can be highly effective in motivating people to quit smoking. The quit rate is improved further by the provision of cessation therapies,” Mr Davis said.
“This pilot also complements the work of the Victorian Network of Smokefree Healthcare Services, which is developing consistent, comprehensive smokefree policies in hospitals.”
Mr Davis said this pilot program builds on the Coalition Government’s strong action to protect the Victorian community from tobacco-related harm.
“We invest millions each year to support quit smoking programs, anti-smoking advertising, education and enforcement activities,” Mr Davis said.
Since coming to office the Coalition Government has:
· banned smoking at public outdoor playgrounds, skate parks, swimming
pool complexes and, during underage sporting events, sporting venues,
commencing 1 April 2014;
· banned smoking between the flags at patrolled beaches;
· implemented a ban on the display of tobacco products at point of sale;
· banned the sale of fruit flavoured rolling papers, cigar wraps and
· amended legislation to enable prosecution of people who smoke in cars
· excluded loyalty programs from rewarding the purchase of tobacco;
· announced a ban on smoking in prisons, commencing 1 July 2015; and
· announced a ban on smoking on railway and tram platforms extending
beyond the current ban in undercover areas, to take effect on 1 March
“Smoking rates in Victoria have fallen to a record low with data from the Cancer Council Victoria showing only 13.3 per cent of Victorians are now regular smokers, compared with 21.2 per cent in 1998,” Mr Davis said.
“The continuing decline in smoking shows that the State’s investment in tobacco control is paying dividends in reducing the harm caused by tobacco.”