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Successful Smoking Cessation through Pharmacies

Tobacco smoking, according to the World Health Organisation, accounts for the highest burden of disease of any modifiable risk factor.1

Although tobacco smoking levels in Australia have declined following multiple public health campaigns, more than 15,000 deaths occur annually in Australia due to tobacco smoking.2

There are a number of therapies available to assist patients with smoking cessation.

In addition to being able to counsel patients regarding these therapies, pharmacists are well-positioned to assist their patients with other aspects of the quitting process including motivational support, ensuring compliance with pharmacotherapy and recognising where referral for prescription medication is appropriate.

Community pharmacies in the ACT are at the forefront of pharmacy-led smoking cessation programs. In June this year they completed a two-year program which involved 84 per cent of the Territory’s community pharmacies.

These pharmacies are evenly distributed across the ACT and are accessible health destinations visited by Canberrans, many of whom are smokers with chronic diseases exacerbated by smoking.

As part of the program, pharmacists and staff were provided smoking cessation counselling training by qualified trainers to equip them with the knowledge and skills to confidently offer the service to smokers.

The Program resulted in an increase in the number of interventions in pharmacies and an increase in the successful quit attempts, and long-term quitters.

Further boosting community pharmacy involvement in smoking cessation, Guild Learning and Development is partnering with Pfizer in an online course titled Engage your customers to successfully cease smoking.

This course examines the key barriers to smoking cessation and compares the efficacy and safety of the pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies that are available to treat nicotine dependence.

This course also outlines the key elements to successful implementation of a pharmacy-led smoking cessation service based on the findings of a two year smoking cessation trial run in the ACT.

Community pharmacist, Pharmacy Guild of Australia ACT Branch President and Guild National Councillor Amanda Galbraith, said the program run by the ACT Branch, and this online course, clearly demonstrated the important role that community pharmacy plays in assisting pharmacy patients to successfully quit.

“Counselling, the provision of medicines, and support from a pharmacist, can assist patients to successfully stop smoking and achieve better health outcomes,” she said.

This activity has been accredited for 1.5 hours of Group 1 CPD (or 1.5 CPD credits), suitable for inclusion in an individual pharmacist’s CPD plan, which can be converted to 1.5 hours of Group 2 CPD (or 3 CPD credits) upon successful completion of relevant assessment activities.

To enrol in this course please visit

Please contact Guild Learning and Development on 03 9810 9930 or email for more information.

Guild Learning and Development thanks Pfizer for their financial support and input of expertise in the development of this course.

1 World Health Organization. WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic: The MPOWER Package. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2008 [Cited June 2017]. Available from:
2 RACGP. Tobacco smoking: the scope of the problem – Support smoking cessation: a guide for health professionals. Clinical Guidelines. 2014 [Cited June 2017]. available from:

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