Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nurses Partner With Ontario’s Local Health Integration Networks To Target Smoking

Nurses Partner With Ontario’s Local Health Integration Networks To Target Smoking

New resource by Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario offers specific strategies to health-care providers to help smokers quit

TORONTO, Jan. 13, 2006 – As national Non-Smoking Week approaches (January 15-21), the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario today launched a timely, new province-wide clinical and educational resource designed to help nurses and other health-care providers counsel patients on how to kick the habit. Dissemination of the new resource is to be facilitated across Ontario by the province’s 14 newly formed Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).  

RNAO’s newly released clinical and educational tool, (developed in 2003 and now being officially launched) Integrating Smoking Cessation into Daily Nursing Practice, will also help Ontarians keep recent New Year’s resolutions and aid Ontario’s workplaces and public institutions meet requirements of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which comes into force later this year. The proposed legislation would make all Ontario workplaces and enclosed public places smoke-free as of May 31.

The comprehensive guideline is available both online and in print and provides specific strategies and recommendations for nurses and others to help smokers start the journey to healthier living. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of premature death, disease and disability. The good news, according to the Canadian Cancer Society, is that smoking is on the decline and a 2003 survey found that more than 70 per cent of smokers want to stop smoking.

 “Ontario nurses are thrilled to partner with the Local Health Integration Networks to help combat smoking across the province. Quitting smoking is the single most effective thing that smokers can do to enhance the quality and length of their lives,” says RNAO’s executive director, Doris Grinspun. “Nurses, as frontline health-care providers, are an integral part of the team that help to support struggling smokers through the difficult withdrawal from this complex physical and psychological addiction by sharing their knowledge, skills and caring.”

“Ontario’s LHIN system provides a fast, coordinated and effective network to help spread the word about this helpful new resource to interested health-care providers. Add to this the trust that nurses’ advice carries with the public, and you have a recipe for success,” says RNAO President, Joan Lesmond. RNAO’s guideline notes that even minimal advice from a health professional can cut the proportion of people smoking by about two per cent per year.

“We are pleased to work with the nursing community to encourage the use of this comprehensive and practical new initiative to help smokers quit. Investing in prevention and keeping Ontarians healthy is definitely a priority for the new LHINs,” says Dr. Robert Cushman, CEO of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network in Ottawa, speaking on behalf of all LHINs on this issue.

RNAO’s evidence-based guideline was developed by an expert multidisciplinary panel of health-care professionals led by RN Janet Nevala and key stakeholders including: the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), the Lung Association, and the Canadian Cancer Society.

The evidence-based resource proposes an easy to implement protocol called Ask, Advise, Assist and Arrange. This smoking “intervention,” which takes less than three minutes, advises that every nurse start by asking all patients about tobacco use and assess their readiness to quit.

The new tool also includes helpful community resources for nurses to recommend to smokers including: the Canadian Cancer Society Smokers’ Helpline, local smoking cessation programs, employee assistance programs, and other health-care providers. The proactive educational aid also encourages nurses to seek opportunities to be actively involved in advocating for smoke-free spaces and protection against second-hand smoke.

RNAO’s ambitious Best Practice Guidelines Program, funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care was launched in 1999 to provide the best available evidence for patient care across a wide spectrum of health-care areas. The 29 guidelines developed to date are a substantive contribution towards building excellence in Ontario’s health-care system. They are available to nurses across Canada and abroad.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario.  Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied 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.  To learn more about RNAO’s Nursing Best Guidelines Program or to view this resource, please visit:

For more information, please contact:
Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
Phone: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext.209
Cell: 647-406-5605