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Smoking Cessation Program

The smoking cessation program aims to empower patients through education about the importance of stopping smoking and help guide them through quitting for the best possible treatment outcomes.
Together with our provincial partners, we are proud to collaborate on this initiative to support person-centered care and improve patient outcomes. 

The BC Cancer Smoking Cessation Program is supported by the BC Cancer Prevention Program which provides information on cancer prevention to policy makers and the population of British Columbia.
About the program

The BC Cancer Smoking Cessation Program is designed to screen all patients for current smoking, give advice on the benefits of quitting and automatically refer all current smokers for cessation support to QuitNow, BC’s provincial cessation program.

This program is funded by the Canadian Partnership against Cancer in a national effort to create smoking cessation programs at all cancer centers across Canada by 2020.

Why is it important?

Smoking Cessation is considered first line therapy for cancer patients. There is strong evidence to show that cancer patients who quit smoking:

  • Have a better chance of successful treatment
  • Improve their health and their body’s response to treatment
  • Have fewer serious side effects
  • Have faster recovery from treatment
  • Have a lower risk of their cancer coming back or getting another form of cancer
  • Have a lower risk of infection
  • Find it easier to breathe
  • Have more energy
  • Experience better quality of life and outcomes, even when living with an incurable cancer

Supporting evidence

Studies show that patients want to be asked and advised on the benefits of smoking cessation at the first visit so that they can make informed decisions about their treatment.

Eng et al. Perceptions of Continued Smoking and Smoking Cessation Among Patients with Cancer.

Eng et al. Perceptions of Continued Smoking and Smoking Cessation Among Patients with Cancer. DOI: 10.1200/JOP.17.00029 Journal of Oncology Practice 14, no. 5 (May 01, 2018) e269-e279.

  • Stopping Smoking at the time of a cancer diagnosis can reduce mortality by 30-40%. (USDHHS Surgeon General’s Report, 2014)
Program details

What is required for successful smoking cessation? 

Evidence shows that patients are most successful when they are:

  • Supported by health care professionals in their quit attempts
  • Use a multipronged approach with counselling and pharmacotherapy.

What does this look like in practice?

  1. Screening
  2. AAR Conversation
    • Nurses in clinic follow the Ask, Advise, Refer model to explain the benefits of quitting smoking after a cancer diagnosis
      • Ask: Patient is asked if they smoke and about their smoking habits
      • Advise: Patient is advised on the benefits of quitting smoking with their cancer treatment
      • Refer: Patient is referred to Quit Now, the Provincial Stop Smoking program to help them quit smoking
  3. Referral to QuitNow
    • Patient is referred to the provincial stop smoking program
  4. Cessation Services
    • QuitNow contacts patients and provides patients with cessation services

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SOURCE: Smoking Cessation Program ( )
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