Australia has a strong record of preventative tobacco control and has implemented a number of successful interventions for reducing tobacco use including taxation, mass media campaigns, eliminating advertising, promotion and sponsorship and plain packaging. Despite this, smoking remains the largest preventable cause of disease and death in Australia.1
Many people with lung cancer are still actively smoking at diagnosis. Continued smoking is associated with a host of deleterious treatment related outcomes, increased risk of recurrence or a second primary tumour and reduced survival.2 Advice from a health professional is one of the most effective ways to encourage people to quit: one in every 33 conversations will lead to a patient successfully quitting smoking. 3 Despite such convincing evidence, only 95% of oncologists ask about smoking most of time and very few use evidence-based cessation support strategies (16% discuss medications and 18% make referral for behavioural support).4
Evidence highlights that interventions that combine evidence-based pharmacotherapy with behavioural interventions increase smoking cessation rates5, and is important to cancer care outcomes.
It's time to start the conversation.