Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Smoking Cessation Initiative

Tobacco consumption is on the rise globally, with approximately 5.8 trillion (5,800,000,000,000) cigarettes smoked in 2014 (World Lung Foundation, 2015)1. Approximately 4.2 million Canadians, 15 years of age and older (14.6 percent) were current smokers in 2013, which is the lowest overall rate ever recorded (Reid, Hammond, Rynard, & Burkhalter, 2015)2.

The impact of tobacco use on public health still remains extremely high. Furthermore, there are direct and indirect health-care costs, as the use of tobacco is also a risk factor for serious acute and chronic illnesses, including cancer, stroke, and heart and lung diseases. In Canada, the health and economic costs associated with tobacco use are estimated to total $17 billion annually, including $4.4 billion in direct health-care costs (Government of Canada, 2016)3.

RNAO's Tobacco Intervention (TI) Initiative is committed to achieving the Ministry's objectives to have the lowest smoking rate in Canada, by supporting clients who use tobacco on their quit journey and by equipping health-care providers and organizations with the required knowledge and skills to integrate evidence-based TI into daily practice.

Since 2007, this Initiative provides customized support to over 74 implementation sites across Ontario including hospitals, academia, public health units, and primary care settings, i.e., CHCs, FHTs, and NP led clinics. These sites implement the Third Edition of RNAO's Best Practice Guideline (BPG), 'Integrating Tobacco Intervention into Daily Practice' (2017), which includes practice, education, and policy/organization recommendations to guide tobacco intervention strategies for thousands of providers and hundreds of organizations across the province.

The Initiative implements a multi-pronged approach to engage stakeholders, including:

  • Implementation Sites
  • TI Implementation Specialists
  • TI Best Practice Champions Network
  • Schools of Nursing and Nursing Faculty
  • Community/Organizational Partnerships
  • Social Media, RNAO Tobacco Free website, and printed and online resources
  • Focus on Priority Populations

For more information about the Initiative and how to become involved!

1 World Lung Foundation. (2015). The tobacco atlas. Retrieved from
2 Reid, J. L., Hammond, D., Rynard, V. L., & Burkhalter, R. (2015). Tobacco use in Canada: Patterns and trends. Waterloo, ON: Propel Centre for Population Health Impact, University of Waterloo.
3 Government of Canada. (2016). Smoking and tobacco use data. Retrieved from
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