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“Timid” nurses to blame for poor visibility of smoking cessation programmes

“Timid” nurses to blame for poor visibility of smoking cessation programmes

Nurses are awkward about addressing cultural specific issues for smoking cessation.

Posted: 3 February 2015

“People need to be more proactive in asking questions and offering support,” said lead professional officer at CPHVA, Obi Amadi.

Local authorities were urged to involve themselves more with local communities, especially those of South Asian women, to help tackle tobacco use, especially chewing tobacco in recent guidance released by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

“In terms of smoking cessation, it needs to be more about nicotine use, which isn’t the standard line of questioning that nurses have. Sometimes nurses feel awkward about addressing specific culture issues,” said Amadi

“What we need is education and informing people of the effects it’ll have on their health and why they should stop smoking.”

South Asian women are said to be four times more likely to develop oral cancer due to their heavy use of smokeless tobacco.

The NHS watchdog said smoking prevention and cessation programmes should be commissioned by local, national and regional partners.

Almost 100,000 people die from smoking related diseases each year, such as cancers, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

It is estimated the NHS spends more than £2.5bn a year treating smoking related illnesses.

A NICE spokesperson said: “There are serious health risks associated with smokeless tobacco products, such as paan or gutkha, which are used by some people of South Asian origin. Often the people using these products aren’t aware that they contain tobacco, nor that they could be at greater risk of oral cancers or cardiovascular disease.

“There’s also low awareness of the health problems caused by these smokeless tobacco products within mainstream NHS services. Health professionals should make people aware of the risks posed by these products, so they can take action by asking patients of South Asian origin if they use smokeless tobacco, ensure they are aware of the health risks, and where appropriate refer people for support to help them stop using these products.”

Updated recommendations on encouraging smoking cessation were released last month, January 2015, by NICE.