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Pharmacists Vital to Reducing Tobacco Addiction in the Community

Lung Foundation - GPs Vital to Reducing Tobacco Addiction in Community - News

Pharmacists are being placed front and centre of a new Lung Foundation Australia pilot smoking cessation and social media initiative launched this month. Throughout September, Lung Foundation Australia will appeal to pharmacists to encourage people who smoke to sign up to a new pilot smoking cessation program, QUIT4october™, a month-long initiative dedicated to helping people to quit smoking with the support of their pharmacist in October.

Lung Foundation Australia CEO, Heather Allan, said: “With 3 million Australians (nearly 16 per cent of those aged 14 or older) continuing to smoke tobacco1 and two in every three lifelong smokers dying prematurely from their habit2, the QUIT4october™ program is launched at a crucial time when the recent tax rise increase may trigger people who smoke to stop their dependence on tobacco.”

QUIT4october™ is being piloted in four areas across Australia including Ballarat (Victoria), Toowoomba (Queensland), Dubbo (New South Wales) and Ryde (New South Wales). The campaign is urging people who want to quit smoking to visit their local pharmacist to discuss best practice smoking cessation as outlined in the Australian smoking cessation guidelines3. This includes developing a personalised quitting plan consisting of behavioural counselling combined with pharmacotherapy for those addicted to nicotine3.

Dr Colin Mendelsohn, Tobacco Treatment Specialist said: “Only three to five per cent of unassisted quit attempts are successful compared to up to 30 per cent of those that use best practice treatment4,5.”

“Professional support enhances motivation, teaches the individual practical quitting skills and builds a supportive environment for the quitting journey. Pharmacotherapy eases the physical discomfort of nicotine withdrawal, reduces cravings and is recommended for all nicotine dependent smokers who are ready to quit3,” Dr Mendelsohn continued.

Central to the pilot program is an interactive website. People wanting to quit smoking should visit to gather information about smoking cessation, conduct a virtual lung health check and download a checklist to support their conversations with their pharmacist.

In addition, people are encouraged to upload photos to QUIT4october™ to show how quitting is having a positive impact on their lives. The initiative will be promoted via radio advertising and at a series of local community events. Posters and brochures will be displayed at various locations in each area, including pharmacies.

Lung Foundation - GPs Vital to Reducing Tobacco Addiction in Community - All four steps

A healthcare professional toolkit aimed at providing practical and evidence-based advice to support pharmacists in their conversations with patients quitting smoking is also available from

“Pharmacists should identify smokers at every opportunity, advising them to quit in a clear, personalised non-confrontational way. People who smoke see their pharmacists as having a key and supportive role in the smoking cessation journey. If your patient achieves their goal of being smoke free for 31 days, they will be at least five times more likely to become a permanent ex-smoker6,”said Dr Mendelsohn.

Lung Foundation - GPs Vital to Reducing Tobacco Addiction in Community - Kills 15,000Australians Lung Foundation - GPs Vital to Reducing Tobacco Addiction in Community - On Average Will Live 10 Years Less Than Non SmokersLung Foundation - GPs Vital to Reducing Tobacco Addiction in Community - Lose Three Months Life Expectancy









QUIT4october™ is championed by Lung Foundation Australia and proudly sponsored by Pfizer PFE Australia Pty Ltd and Johnson & Johnson Pacific.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Tanya West
Burson-Marsteller on behalf of Lung Foundation Australia
Tel: (02) 9928 1506 / 0406 907 845

Elle McGlynn
Burson-Marsteller on behalf of Lung Foundation Australia
Tel: (02) 9928 1542 / 0425 319 321

1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013.Drug statistics series no. 28. Cat. no. PHE 183. Canberra: AIHW.
2. Banks E. Tobacco smoking and all-cause mortality in a large Australian cohort study. BMC Medicine 2015; 13(38). DOI 10.1186/s12916-015-0281-z.
3. Zwar N, Richmond R, Borland R, et al. Supporting smoking cessation: a guide for health professionals. Melbourne: The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. 2014. Available at Accessed 28 May 2015.
4. Hughes JR, Keely J, Naud S. Shape of the relapse curve and long-term abstinence among untreated smokers. Addiction. 2004; 99(1): 29-38.
5. Fiore M, Jaen C, Baker T, et al. Treating tobacco use and dependence: 2008 update. Rockville MD: USDHHS, U.S. Public Health Service. 2008.
6. West R., Stapleton J. Clinical and public health significance of treatments to aid smoking cessation. Eur Respir Rev 2008; 17: 110, 199–204. DOI: 10.1183/09059180.00011005.

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