By: The Sault Star
this year, Dr. Jim Morris, known as the 'Quit
Coach' presented an in-service titled: 'Tobacco Dependence
Treatment' to the physicians of the Algoma District Medical
Group (ADMG) and health care providers at the Group Health
Dr. Morris, who is with the Nicotine Dependence Centre
at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre,
outlined how health professionals play an important role in
tobacco prevention and cessation, and how to incorporate a
tobacco cessation program into a practice setting.
Statistics for smokers are grim. Each year in Canada, 45,000
or one in 5 deaths are attributable to cigarette smoking.
In Ontario, 16,000 people die from smoking every year. Although
the adult prevalence of tobacco use is decreasing (following
an increase in the early 1990s), 22 per cent of the Canadian
population are smokers. Most alarming is that teen tobacco
use in Canada is still high in some areas!
Twenty per cent of all smokers, and 30 per cent of heavy
smokers will develop lung cancer which is the most common
cancer and the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Eighty
to 90 per cent of lung cancers can be attributed to smoking.
One in 5 deaths from ischemic heart disease in Canada is caused
by tobacco and chronic lung disease is the fourth leading
cause of death worldwide.
Dr. Morris said, "Most tobacco users want to quit. They
know that tobacco is bad for their health and brief interventions
by their health care provider is effective."
Nicotine is powerfully addictive and that tobacco users often
do not know how to quite. Unassisted, long term cessation
rates are low at about 10 per cent.
"Health care providers have to know if their patient
is a smoker. In a clear, strong and personalized manner, every
patient who is a smoker must be urged to quit," Dr. Morris
noted, "Patients report that physician advice is the
single most important motivating factor."
In fact, improved long-term cessation rates of about 15 to
30 per cent are possible with help."
A new innovative and comprehensive Smoking Tobacco Cessation
Program (STOP) has been introduced to assist Group Health
Centre patients who want to quit smoking. STOP encourages
a healthy, smoke-free lifestyle. Cigarette smokers, those
who chew tobacco or cigar smokers (all types of tobacco consumption!)
can enrol in STOP.
STOP initiatives target enrolled GHC patients, including teenagers
and pregnant women.
There are three levels to STOP. Reading smoking cessation
material and developing a positive attitude towards quitting
is the first level. (Smoking Cessation literature is made
available throughout GHC, from the local chapters of the:
Lung Association, Heart and Stroke Foundation and Canadian
Cancer Society.) Patients entering the second level are required
to book an appointment with their health care provider to
specifically discuss quitting smoking. Level 3 involves 'intensive
intervention' with selected patients enrolled in STOP.
Patients enrolled in STOP are assisted in developing their
own personalized 'Quit Plan' that includes an actual quit
date; a list of support persons; medication information; self-help
material and have follow-up appointments scheduled for on-going
support. The program also features problem-solving exercises
to give participants the best chance of following through
with his or her 'quit' date. The more prepared they are for
the quit date, increase their chances of being successful.
Laura Fryia, RN is a specially trained Smoking Cessation
Nurse and the STOP Coordinator. Her work has also been described
similar to a 'quit coach.' In addition to providing support,
clinical expertise, and leadership and overseeing the education,
she also oversees the intervention and counselling proponents
of the program. "
Whatever the motivation is for quitting, I try and assist,"
Ms. Fryia says. Ms. Fryia said,"Most people find quitting
smoking a difficult thing to do. I tell them honestly, it
will be hard work, but worth it in the end. Health benefits
from quitting smoking start 20 minutes after the last cigarette
and continue for life. The more personal their reason for
quitting smoking is I've found they are extremely motivated
to succeed. I congratulate the patient for making the decision
to quit and I am here to help them be successful.
Patients are very appreciative of what the STOP Program has
to offer. It's important for them to remember to take one
day at a time and be kind to yourself."
Dr. Dan Fritz and Dr. Sandra Stevenson, physicians with ADMG
at the GHC are the STOP Medical Directors.
To enrol in STOP, GHC patients have to make an appointment
with their family physician or nurse practitioner by calling
Appointment Services at 759-4444, weekdays.
For more information about GHC's STOP, contact Ms. Fryia
at 759-5539 or visit: www.ghc.on.ca/stop.html.