Pharmacy U

University of Waterloo launches Pharmacist-led Smoking Cessation Initiative

Nardine Nakhla

by Staff

Patients continue to name quitting smoking as one of their top intentions – and needs. More and more pharmacists are helping them in their smoking cessation efforts. A new initiative out of the University of Waterloo is set to help pharmacists.

Across Canada, smoking cessation services offered by pharmacists include assessment, prescribing or recommending of appropriate therapies, counselling, and follow-up with patients who are attempting to quit smoking. However, the degree to which these services are delivered and reimbursed vary from one jurisdiction to the next.

The National Pharmacist-Led Smoking Cessation Initiative aims to harmonize the scope of practice of pharmacists across Canada and thereby maximize utilization and effectiveness of Canadian pharmacists as providers of effective smoking cessation services.

The initiative is led by Nardine Nakhla, Clinical Lecturer at the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy. Other team contributors include symposium co-facilitator Rosemary Killeen, Director of Distance Education and Continuing Professional Development, and research assistant Kristi Butt. As Nardine Nakhla says, “Pharmacists are accessible healthcare professionals who can play a key role in supporting patients through the challenging process of quitting smoking. We’re working to bring together expertise from across the country to develop an ideal model of a national pharmacist-led smoking cessation program.”

Through an environmental scan and evaluation of smoking cessation practices by pharmacists across Canada, the Pharmacist-Led Smoking Cessation Initiative aims to maximize utilization and effectiveness of Canadian pharmacists as providers of effective smoking cessation services.

Cross-country collaboration

Nakhla and her team have identified and partnered and with pharmacists and key opinion leaders in smoking cessation from across the nation. They have also connected with representatives from Health Canada, Consumer Health Products Canada, the Non-insured Health Benefits program, and the Canadian Pharmacists Association.

The team held an initial meeting of these partners in Ottawa in June 2018. This symposium was supported by lead sponsor Johnson & Johnson Inc. Canada, with additional support from Green Shield Canada.


Download the white paper Pharmacist-led Smoking Cessation Care in Canada: Current Status and Strategies for Expansion (PDF).