Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Smokers can rely on nurses for help

Smokers can rely on nurses for help


TORONTO, Jan. 13, 2012 – If you’ve made a resolution to stop smoking this year, you can count on support from your local nurse to help you quit for good. During National Non-Smoking Week (Jan. 15-21), nurses in two Manitoba communities will learn how they make a difference and help persuade the 17 per cent of Canadians over 15 years of age (five million people) who still smoke.

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 expanding its network of more than 1,500 champions who are equipped to use firm and effective quit-smoking strategies with their clients and families.

Since the fall and continuing this winter, the RNAO is offering a series of free workshops across the country providing 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 project 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:

-Monday, Jan. 16 and Friday Jan. 20: Brandon, Manitoba – Victoria Inn, 3550 Victoria Ave. ROOM: Salon 1 and Grand A

-Tuesday, Jan. 17 and Wednesday Jan. 18: Souris, Manitoba – Souris Glenwood Memorial Complex, 32-3rd Ave West. ROOM: Kirkup Family Lounge

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. For more information, visit

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.


Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
Cell: 647-406-5605 / Office: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 209