Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death in Ontario and pharmacists can play an important role in helping individuals to quit smoking or, as an initial step, to reduce tobacco use. Pharmacists are often the first point of contact for many who wish to seek advice and support on their quitting journey. Pharmacists are able to provide services such as: the creation of a quit plan, guidance on smoking cessation therapy and referral to local support services and quit smoking programs. They can also provide lifestyle advice to help individuals manage certain challenges often associated with the process of quitting, including: coping with cravings, weight management, staying motivated and managing stress and anxiety.
Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) recipients are eligible for pharmacist-led smoking cessation services that are government funded1. The pharmacist-led smoking cessation program is a one-to-one support service. Through a series of consultations, over the course of one year, a pharmacist will assess a person's readiness to quit smoking then create and implement a plan to help the person achieve their goals. The program provides a structured framework that is designed to provide an individual with regular support and follow-up from a pharmacist to maintain motivation. Participation in a pharmacist-led smoking cessation program improves the chances of successfully quitting tobacco use.
In Ontario, pharmacists have the authority to prescribe select smoking cessation therapies (varenicline and bupropion)2. Pharmacist may prescribe one of these therapies, if appropriate, to help an individual quit. Alternatively, pharmacists can work with a patient's prescriber to ensure access to required smoking cessation therapies.
Recognizing that vaping devices are also commonly used as a source of nicotine, individuals who are concerned about their current use of these products should seek assistance from a pharmacist. Overall, pharmacists can help play an important role in helping individuals who smoke or vape to quit by providing individualized support and advice. To improve your overall health and well-being — speak to your Food Basics pharmacist today.
1. Ontario Ministry of Health. Pharmacy Smoking Cessation Program. Retrieved 12 December 2022, from https://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/drugs/smoking/
2. Ontario College of Pharmacists. Initiating, Adapting and Renewing Prescriptions. Retrieved 12 December 2022, from https://www.ocpinfo.com/regulations-standards/practice-policies-guidelines/adapting-renewing-prescriptions/