Smoking cessation needs expert training
THE difference between well-trained and untrained physicians managing patient smoking cessation can be greater than the difference between taking medication or placebo, according to a UK expert.
“What that really means is we need to ensure our practitioners are trained. That is why a professional organisation is so important,” said Professor Robert West, an expert in health psychology at University College London.
Speaking in Sydney last week at the launch of the Australian Association of Smoking Cessation Professionals (AASCP), which receives funding from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, he advocated a combination of medication and professional support for the best chance of quitting.
He referred to recent Cochrane reviews of medications, including nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion, varenicline and others.
They demonstrated varying levels of effect but not huge success, he said.
While some people said they did not work, Professor West argued the people who chose to use the kind of help the AASCP was offering were “the more dependent smokers, who have a lower success rate to start with”.
GP and tobacco treatment specialist, Dr Colin Mendelsohn, said that there was a role in a group practice for one GP to develop their skills and then become the referral source for that practice, or to train a practice nurse.
Information on training and accreditation is available at http://aascp.org.au/