The Pharmacist September/October 2018 - Page 29

MASTERCLASS How to help patients quit smoking For some patients, giving up smoking may seem like an insurmountable task. But community pharmacists are well placed to help achieve successful quit attempts, says Darush Attar-Zadeh ublic Health England (PHE) wants to see a tobacco-free generation by 2025. Despite a continuing decline in smoking rates, nearly one in six adults still smoke and many of these patients will be walking into a pharmacy. UK smoking prevalence in 2016 was 15.5% of the adult population, representing around 7.6 million individuals. 1 England has the lowest smoking prevalence out of the four UK nations at 14.9%. 2 Even though smoking prevalence is dropping, we can’t rest on our laurels and expect levels to drop further. Unfortunately, in England, prevalence in smokers who have least disposable income is 2.44 times higher than in the better off, 40.5% of people with P serious mental illness are smokers, and women smoking at time of delivery is 10.7%. 3 Figures from 2010 to 2011 showed that more than one million smokers are hospital in-patients. 4 In 2014-2016 there were an estimated 1,579 years of life lost per 100,000 patients due to smoking attributable illnesses, including various cancers, heart disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 5 Heath complications associated with smoking Smoking or exposure to smoke (passive smoking) is the most commonly encountered and easily identifiable risk factor for many long-term conditions. Smoking cessation is seen by many as a public health issue – a lifestyle choice that can prevent ill health. Pharmacy teams in all settings are a vital ingredient to spotting warning signs of ill health from tobacco dependency. The good news is that it’s never too early or late to stop smoking, and acquiring the right skills to support and treat this chronic relapsing disease is essential if we want to see further reductions in prevalence. In respiratory patients, early warning signs come in our asthma patients who may live with a smoker or smoke themselves. The 2014 national review of asthma deaths reported that 46% of deaths due to asthma had preventable risk factors. One third of cases had regular exposure to tobacco September/October 2018 | The Pharmacist | 29