Taking action on smoking and health
Many staff say they find that first raising the issue can be the most difficult thing about talking to clients or patients about smoking. Many people do not want to talk about their smoking and some staff will be concerned that raising this issue may be a barrier to people engaging with the other advice and information offered. Other staff are, quite correctly, unwilling to appear judgemental or directive, or to appear to be judging people for their problems.
Yet stopping smoking is the single, best thing that someone can do to improve their health, and most people who smoke say that they want to stop. So asking about smoking is a crucial part of providing health (or financial advice) support - although if the client doesn't want to engage their wishes should be respected.
ASH Scotland has created some simple resources to help raise the issues of smoking in pharmacies. The mock branded cigarette pack is intended to prompt people to ask why it is there, making it easy to respond that "this is information about the impact of smoking on various conditions and medications, and the benefits of stopping smoking, if you want to talk about it?"
It is then up to the patient of client if they wish to discuss, but if they do then the professional has permission to provide information and advice.
The packs are available for use in any pharmacy setting. To find out more please contact ASH Scotland.
Action on Smoking & Health (Scotland) (ASH Scotland) is a registered Scottish charity (SC 010412) and a company limited by guarantee(Scottish company no 141711). The registered office is 8 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HB.
ASH Scotland acknowledges with thanks the support of the British Heart Foundation and the Scottish Government in developing our website.