Conversations around smoking cessation
As part of the Smoke-Free Communities Project, TasCOSS was engaged by the Department of Health to better understand the potential role of Tasmanian community service organisations (CSOs) in supporting smoking cessation, particularly among priority population groups.
Through conversations with CSOs, peak bodies and other stakeholders, a clear understanding of the current enablers and barriers for CSOs in supporting smoking cessation was achieved. The most commonly heard themes were:
- A perception that talking about smoking is not a priority.
- Lack of staff education and training.
- Need for improved health literacy of CSOs and clients.
- Smoking is an addiction and it is hard to quit.
- Some CSOs have a ‘smoking culture’.
- It is difficult to access health care professionals and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
- High cost of NRT.
- Ongoing trust between staff and people who use services.
- Quick and easy access to free, combination NRT
- Incentivising quit programs.
- Quit smoking support workers.
- Peer-to-peer learning.
- Providing education about smoking and quit smoking resource.
These themes were also reflected in the findings of the project’s literature review, survey results, extensive consultations via interviews and focus groups. It is clear from the many conversations that the potential future roles of CSOs will focus on long-term culture change to normalise smoke-free lives. Specifically, multi-faceted support programs for clients that include education about smoking cessation, increasing health literacy, improving access to health care workers and NRT, and increasing the number of smoking cessation support workers.
Building on the foundational work during this first phase of the project, TasCOSS will work with community service organisations in a second phase: a project plan for TasCOSS supporting smoke-free community services is in development to support embedding smoking cessation into the everyday practice of CSOs.