TORONTO, Oct. 20, 2011 – Now more than ever nurses are needed to help smokers quit. The latest numbers from Health Canada show that 17 per cent of Canadians or about five million people age 15 years or older are still smokers.
Research shows that health professionals who spark a conversation with smokers about their tobacco use and dependence can influence healthy decisions. The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s (RNAO) National Smoking Cessation (SC) Initiative is making a difference by expanding its network of 1,568 SC Champions who are equipped to use firm and effective quit-smoking strategies with their clients and families.
This fall and winter, the RNAO is offering a series of free workshops across the country that will provide nurses and other health-care professionals with evidence-based strategies and tools to intervene and support smokers in their decision to butt out. The goal is to educate a total of 2,500 nurses and other health-care professionals in smoking cessation strategies by the end of 2012. Media are invited to attend the workshops and glean best practice knowledge around effective quitting strategies.
Statistics show that smoking rates are down one per cent in 2010 compared to the year before, and are at their lowest amount recorded according to data from Health Canada.
“We know 37,000 people die each year from tobacco smoke so we can’t run the risk of becoming complacent in our efforts to reduce the prevalence of smoking even though the numbers are down slightly. One in five Canadians is still smoking and our goal is to get that number even lower,” says Irmajean Bajnok, a registered nurse with RNAO in Toronto. “We need to build on the success of key intervention strategies, including the critical role nurses play.”
Amanda Reid, a community health nurse with Central Health in Gander, Nfld., and a member of the National SC Initiative says, “nurses are in an excellent position to address tobacco use with clients. We’re often the first point of contact with clients accessing health-care services. We work in community centres, hospitals, and even clients’ homes. We are experienced in teaching, and we are in excellent, trusted positions to get the message across.”
She adds that just a few words, tailored for the right person in the right situation, by a nurse can get smokers thinking about quitting. “We can be a source of information and support. And, at the very least, nurses ensure smokers are informed about the health choices they need to make.”
National Smoking Cessation Initiative Workshop Dates:
-Tuesday, Oct 25: Gander, Newfoundland – Albatross Hotel, 114 Trans Canada Highway. ROOM: Salon A
-Thursday, Oct 27: Gander, Newfoundland – Albatross Hotel, 114 Trans Canada Highway. ROOM: Salon A
-Monday, Nov 14: Campbellton, New Brunswick – Howard Johnson, 157 Water Street
-Wednesday, Nov 16: Moncton, New Brunswick - Delta Beauséjour, 750 Main Street
-Friday, Nov 18: Fredericton, New Brunswick - Crowne Plaza Fredericton, 659 Queen Street. ROOM: Petitcodiac
-Saturday, Nov 19: Fredericton, New Brunswick - Crowne Plaza Fredericton, 659 Queen Street. ROOM: Petitcodiac
-Tuesday, Nov 22: Winnipeg, Manitoba – Hilton Suites Winnipeg Airport, 1800 Wellington Avenue. ROOM: Stevenson Ballroom C
-Wednesday, Nov 23: Winnipeg, Manitoba – Hilton Suites Winnipeg Airport, 1800 Wellington Avenue. ROOM: Stevenson Ballroom C
-Monday, Dec 5: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – Temple Gardens Mineral Spa, 24 Fairford St. E. ROOM: Salon A
-Tuesday, Dec 6: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – Temple Gardens Mineral Spa, 24 Fairford St. E. ROOM: Mezzanine E & F
-Monday, Dec 12: Montreal, Quebec – Intercontinental Montreal, 360 Saint-Antoine Ouest. ROOM: Salon St-Jacques
-Tuesday, Dec 13: Montreal, Quebec – Intercontinental Montreal, 360 Saint-Antoine Ouest. ROOM: Salon St-Jacques
RNAO’s National Smoking Cessation Initiative is a program funded by Health Canada’s Federal Tobacco Control Strategy. The goal of the program is to build and strengthen the capacity of nurses by helping them integrate evidence-based smoking cessation strategies into their daily practice. The initiative is based on RNAO’s successful Ontario-based Smoking Cessation Best Practice Initiative, which is funded by the province’s Ministry of Health Promotion & Sport. Visit www.TobaccofreeRNAO.ca  for more information.
RNAO is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.