It’s National No Smoking Day on the 9th of March and this year the campaign theme is about the importance of the trusted voice of health care staff in supporting people to think positively about stopping smoking. Doctors, nurses, and others have always been trusted by smokers to deliver them health messages and in the current environment, with the impact of the pandemic, we can all have an even bigger impact on smokers.
Can you remember the last time you spoke to someone about their smoking? How did that feel? Do you know what the outcome was? Did you make a difference? These are all important questions and I’ve often been left wondering at the end of a busy day, ‘What actual difference did I make today?’ Well the good news is that every time you talk to a smoker about their smoking, you are showing that you care and this No Smoking Day asks you to pass on a very positive and simple message to people who smoke,
“Don’t give up on giving up. Every time you try to stop smoking, you’re a step closer to success.”
This sits well with our mandate to make every contact count around tobacco use. People who smoke tend to know that it’s bad for them and they generally expect healthcare professionals to ask them about their smoking. The question is how to do this without causing upset, worrying that it will start a conversation you are unprepared for, or will simply take up too much time.
Fortunately, the answer is an easy one. Very Brief Advice is just that, a non-confrontational and easy to get right every time you speak to someone who smokes. The beauty of it is that it is simply providing the person with a few facts and offering support. Want to try it out, then here’s how it goes.
“If you smoke, the best thing you can do is to stop, the best way of doing that is with medication and support and that’s available for free. Can I sign you up?”
Most people can be referred directly their community stop smoking service and anyone who can’t, can be asked to search ‘Smokefree’ and visit the NHS Better Health page.
Now is the time for us to step forward and show people we really care about their health, so this No Smoking Day, show a smoker you care by delivering very brief advice and encouragement, “Don’t give up on giving up. Every time you try to stop smoking, you’re a step closer to success.”
30 seconds for you could be a lifetime for them. If you want to know more, the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training provides a free online training module on how to do this well.
To access your local stop smoking service, visit: