Deciding to quit smoking is one of the best decisions your patients can make for their health.
You’ll know that the decision to quit, and managing to quit for good are two very different things.
You might ask yourself, as a health professional, is there anything you can do to help your patient quit smoking for good?
Starting the conversation
Let’s start by saying that your patient has to want to quit smoking. Directly asking them to quit when it’s not something they’re considering won’t be very effective. However, there are still ways you can mention it during your conversations with them.
Little nudges in the right direction can make a big difference.
It’s also worth listening for triggers for quitting. The national charity, Change Grow Live, suggested the following list:
- Health scares – these include cancer, heart and lung problems
- Your patient is noticing the signs of ageing – do they feel like they’re slowing down or feeling out of breath easily?
- Their friend or family member getting a smoking-related illness
- If they have a child or grandchild on the way.
Listen carefully during conversations to see if there are ways you can talk about smoking. If you want further guidance on having difficult conversations about health, we’ve got lots of tips you can read.
Once your patient has made the decision to quit smoking, there are plenty of paths they can follow to find a way which works for them. A popular method for people across the UK is using e-cigarettes – also known as vapes.
If your patient decides to opt for an e-cigarette, they will inhale nicotine in a vapour rather than smoke. They don’t burn tobacco or produce tar or carbon monoxide – the two most damaging elements with smoking. An evidence statement by Public Health England estimates that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes.
According to a review, shared by the NHS, people who use e-cigarettes to quit smoking, as well as having expert face-to-face support, can be up to twice as likely to succeed as people who used other nicotine replacement products, such as patches or gum.
Nicotine Replacement Therapies
Even though e-cigarettes can be incredibly impactful, it all depends on the individual; they are not the only quit smoking tool your patient will have at their disposal. There is a wide range of nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) they can try.
NRTs provide your patient with nicotine, without the harmful chemicals we find in cigarettes and tobacco. They can help reduce the withdrawal symptoms of quitting. The NHS advises ‘low and slow’ combined with ‘strong and fast’ when it comes to NRTs.
You can talk to your patients about the different replacement therapies and describe their effects. For instance, a patch will slowly release nicotine into the system. While spray or gum release it faster and help combat quick cravings. Each person’s quitting journey will look different, and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to effectively stopping smoking.
Social service support
We’ve mentioned this already, but we really want to stress the difference that social support can make for someone quitting smoking.
According to Gov UK, combining stop smoking aids with expert support from local stop smoking services makes someone three times as likely to stop smoking successfully.
Here at Be Healthy Bucks, we offer free support to your patients who are on their journey to quit smoking. Our team of health coaches offer:
- Personalised 1:1 coaching
- Nicotine replacement therapy plans
- Support with goal setting and benefit tracking.
Simply fill in our referral form and we can help your patients quit smoking in a way that will work best for them.
To find out if your patient is eligible, please see our eligibility.