In January, the Surgeon General issued the first report on smoking cessation in 30 years. The news refreshes the latest findings on smoking cessation in the United States and highlights the vital role pharmacologists play in cessation attempts.
“One of the most striking features of the report, related to prior reports, is the extent of emphasis on pharmacologists,” stated Karen Hudmon, BSPharm, DrPH, professor of medicine practice at Purdue University College of Pharmacy in West Lafayette, IN. “It’s been a slow process, but our profession has made major walks over the past two decades to advance our role in tobacco suspension.”
The Building Intrusions
“It’s a call to action for us that we’re told in the report various times as a viable provider and an important resource to tackle this important public health difficulty,” replied Robin Corelli, PharmD, professor of clinical medicine at the University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy.
For Corelli, this involves building intrusions into the science workflow. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians—who dubbed “the secret sauce,” as they are usually the patient’s first meeting—should always ask victims if they smoke, mainly if they take medicines that interact with tobacco. “Once you ask, the logical continuation is to advise them to quit and assess their willingness to leave,” she said.
The key is to come from a space of caring, told Corelli. “You’re not shaming someone. You know it’s that person’s choice, and if and when they’re able to quit, they will presumably perceive you as a resource.”
Pharmacologists should suggest medications when relevant, stated Hudmon, “including nonprescription goods (the nicotine patch, lozenge, and gum) and prescription goods (varenicline, bupropion SR, and the nicotine inhaler and nasal spray).”
The statement notes that empowering pharmacologists to prescribe cessation treatments, and allowing them to bill for interruptions, could help boost success.
In Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, and New Mexico, pharmacologists can now prescribe all cessation medicines, with efforts undertaken in other states. Pharmacologists can also provide management counseling support and refer sufferers to the tobacco quitline (1-800-QUIT NOW), told Hudmon. They should regularly support and follow up with sufferers to help prevent relapses.
The report also highlights the necessity for actions at the state and health-system levels. Mass media operations, comprehensive smoke-free policies, and statewide tobacco control plans raise cigarette prices and require pictorial health warnings.
Comprehensive insurance coverage for cessation treatments can also boost regular access and success rates while being cost-effective.
Disparities influenced by socioeconomic status, age, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identification, and more necessary to be addressed.
The report indicates that there is currently insufficient evidence that e-cigarette use improves smoking cessation, and the results may pose serious
The Cessation Programs
Advice from health care professionals on smoking cessation has increased since 2000. However, 4 of 9 adult cigarette smokers who had a consult with a healthcare professional during the past year did not receive advice to quit. This further emphasizes the need for pharmacists as part of an interdisciplinary team for smoking cessation.
Pharmacists can help to identify interactions between patients’ drug regimen, disease states, and smoking to encourage cessation right at the point-of-care. The report also discussed that pharmacist-based smoking cessation programs are effective and also result in healthcare savings.