Vancouver Coastal Health’s Tobacco Reduction Strategy has partnered with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute with funding from Health Canada to incorporate the university’s highly successful evidence-based smoking cessation program in eight VCH hospitals. This initiative, considered the “gold standard” of smoking cessation programs, has the potential to reduce wait times for several procedures. Helping patients quit smoking reduces the likelihood that they will be readmitted to hospital. Hospitalization is an efficient and effective way to identify and treat tobacco users, and hospitalized patients may be particularly motivated to quit if their illness was caused or exacerbated by smoking and because they are temporarily housed in a smoke-free hospital environment. Patients are screened for tobacco use either in hospital or in the community as part of the pre-admission process (Stop Smoking Before Surgery program). They are then offered support, counseling, and resources to quit. The pre- and post-implementation rates in three VCH hospitals showed an improvement of 30 to 50 percent in quit rates. Discussions are underway to use this model as a standard of care for the entire province.
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