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Smoking Cessation Programs: Lessons From The UK

I’ve previously written about what face-to-face smoking cessation services typically do, largely based on my own experience. However, while at the SRNT annual conference I met two Smoking Cessation Advisors working in Lancashire, England who appeared to have a successful service, so thought it worth sharing some of their information.

Jan Holding and Eileen Ward manage a UK National Health Service (NHS) Stop Smoking Service in Lancashire in the north of England. Both are nurses by training and many of the 14 staff providing the treatment have primarily a nursing background. Their service sees around 450 new clients per month (i.e. over 5000 new clients per year). Services are provided at “community sessions” at various locations all over their catchment area, and clients are given their own hand-held record which they keep, and take with them to sessions, enabling them to attend whichever community location suits them at the time. While clients can make scheduled appointments, the service is also flexible, allowing clients to “drop-in” to community sessions without an appointment. Although some initial assessment sessions take place in a group format, most of the sessions are delivered in a one-to-one format via a relatively brief discussion with a smoking cessation advisor. These community sessions often take place in a large community room from 4pm to 8 pm in the evening, with multiple types of services being provided in the same room at the same time at different corners (e.g. initial assessments in one corner, prescribing of varenicline in another, and nicotine replacement therapy in another). It is not uncommon for around 200 clients to attend a single community session.

Clients are frequently encouraged to use NRT prior to quitting smoking (about half do this) and usually use more than one smoking cessation medicine (more than half do). Nicotine replacement therapy is provided via a voucher system requiring either no cost to the client, or just a co-pay (around $10 USD).

The service runs 6 days per week and includes evening sessions, and aims to reduce most of the usual barriers to entering treatment. Their “3 As” approach emphasizes “Accessibility, Availability and Adaptability”. They also specifically try to develop smoking cessation advisors who are passionate about their role, have a positive attitude to the importance of quitting smoking, and are therefore very committed to that work, as well as being knowledgeable about it.

My understanding is that the quit rates at this service are pretty good. But perhaps the best testimony to its success is the fantastic volume of clients who attend…..largely influenced by positive word-of-mouth via other clients. The success of this service reminds us that there isn’t just one way to do it, that all smoking cessation counselors and systems may need to be flexible and adaptable in order to help as many smokers to quit as possible.

For further information on what a smokers’ clinic does, see: What does a tobacco treatment clinic do?

This post, Smoking Cessation Programs: Lessons From The UK, was originally published on by Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D..

Mother’s Day – Coping Strategies For Those Who’ve Lost A Mom

Web pages and blogs are full of gift idea do’s and don’ts for your mother. I won’t go there. I think the topic has been covered quite nicely by better shoppers than I could ever hope to be.

You’ve also, no doubt, been bombarded with the plethora of tear jerker emails cautioning you to spend time with your mother while you can. She’s older than you, you know, and may not last until next year for you to make it up to her if you miss this Mother’s Day. That topic’s been covered too.

I’d like to talk with you a little bit about how to get through Mother’s Day after you’ve lost your mother. And I especially don’t want to forget the reverse situation; how to cope with Mother’s Day if you have lost a child, the hardest pain of all to overcome.

So how do you survive this Sunday if half of the equation is missing? You could hide under the covers until Monday. The protective property of the blanket works for monsters under the bed, why not against monsters of the heart as well? You could ignore that the day has any other meaning and treat it like any other Sunday, but that tends to backfire with a nasty trap of emotions smacking you back into reality the hard way at the worst possible time. Don’t let it catch you off guard; the day is coming whether you are ready for it or not. Or you could cry in your beer (over 21, please), but that just makes your eyes red and dilutes the beer.

Here are some coping strategies for bereavement:

  • Talk about it with a friend or family member you trust to handle the sensitive and powerful emotions you feel towards Mother’s Day
  • Realize that Mother’s Day is only one day out of the year and it has been commercially blown out of proportion and this too shall quickly pass
  • Be around friends who understand and can help you cope with the day
  • Acknowledge it can be a hard day and distract yourself with a movie or something that has a positive and endearing memory of what this day was initially designed to represent

And remember that your mother will always be your mother no matter where she is. And the same goes for mothers who have lost children. Once a mother, you will always be a mother even if you can no longer hold them in your arms.

If you are an eDocAmerica participant, you can send a message to the ePsych Psychologist for individualized coping strategies. Many people use this helpful option with good results whether it’s Mother’s Day or not.

All comments welcome.

*This blog post was originally published at eDocAmerica*

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