What is the most effective pharmacotherapy in smoking cessation?
Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of death in the United States since it causes about 443,585 deaths yearly. Tobacco use in America has been so prevalent that, in the year 2010, the tobacco industry spent $8.5 billion promoting and advertising the product, an amount that surpassed the national budget for tobacco prevention. Therefore, it is a national concern to promote tobacco cessation since most adult smokers want to quit smoking, and some have even attempted to quit in the past. Pharmacists are the best-placed professionals to facilitate quitting by initiating the necessary efforts or complementing those initiated by other health providers. They can reach out to assist marginalized groups with a high prevalence of diseases associated with tobacco because their advice does not need medical insurance or an appointment.
A guide provided by the US Public Health Service urges clinicians to incorporate the 5 A’s of tobacco cessation treatment intervention, which are:
- Advise tobacco users to quit
- Ask about tobacco use
- Assess readiness to quit
- Assist with quitting
- Arrange follow-up care (McBane et al. 5).
In addition, the guide also requires that staff and students in the health profession receive relevant training on effective strategies to facilitate tobacco cessation among the population. All health providers will also be required to have the minimum qualification to offer to counsel on tobacco cessation to the users.
Major pharmacotherapy drug classes available for smoking cessation?
The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy acknowledges that promoting health and preventing diseases through educating the public is indispensable. Hence, educating people on tobacco cessation will also be fundamental and should be included in the pharmacy curricula of health professional institutions (McBane et al. 4). This measure will ensure that pharmacy graduates will acquire the necessary knowledge that is evidence-based and requisite skills to assist patients struggling with tobacco use. In addition, professionals teaching subjects related to tobacco cessation should also be competent and enlightened on the content. They should be able to offer appropriate counseling on cessation and screen patients for tobacco use as a care component. The Tobacco Control Committee also urges academic pharmacies to prioritize tobacco cessation and control and recognize pharmacists as inherent associates of the public health community because they play a significant role in helping patients quit tobacco use and offer them helpful counseling (McBane et al. 2).
Pharmacy organizations have initiated professional-based resolutions and policies to facilitate tobacco cessation and control. However, the professional fraternity has not fully implemented and integrated the strategies into their practice. All teaching professionals should unite in eliminating tobacco sales in all pharmacies and institutions rendering health care services such as clinics and hospitals (McBane et al. 5). To reinforce the policy, the government should discontinue the renewal of existing licenses or issuing new licenses for pharmacies selling or intending to sell tobacco products. Moreover, only pharmacies and entities not selling tobacco products should be beneficiaries of government-funded prescription programs. This will ensure that tobacco sales in pharmacies are flushed out completely.
McBane, Sarah, Robin Corelli, Christian Albano, John Conry, Mark Della Paolera, Amy Kennedy, Antoine Jenkins, and Karen Suchanek Hudmon. “The Role of Academic Pharmacy in Tobacco Cessation and Control.” American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education 77.5 (2013): 1-8.