Do nurse have a role to play in smoking cessation?

Julie Wilson, Donna Fitzsimons, Stuart Elborn

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

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Cigarette smoking is regarded as a major cause
of ill health, reduced quality of life and premature
death. It kills one in five people in Britain (RCP,
2000). Thus, smoking cessation is regarded as the
cornerstone of treatment for many patients. Nurses
have an important role to play in helping smokers
to stop successfully, yet the effectiveness of nursing
interventions in this area is unproven (Rice and
Stead, 2004). This paper interprets the results of a
randomised controlled trial (RCT) of nursing interventions
in a respiratory population (n=91), which
found that irrespective of the intervention offered,
virtually none of the sample achieved complete
cessation. While these findings make depressing
reading from a professional perspective, it is
important that they are critically analysed so that
valuable learning occurs which may assist in the
development of professional practice and research
in this arena. Despite the complex physical and
behavioural issues associated with smoking, the
nature and content of nursing care to achieve
smoking cessation is not well defined. Indeed, few
studies provide a detailed description of the interventions
offered, making it difficult for nurses to
identify the components that should be included
in routine clinical practice.

The researcher will provide a detailed description
of the interventions evaluated in this RCT and
highlight those components which appear to be
most clinically and cost-effective. In particular, the
nurses’ role in providing brief advice and in harm
reduction for intractable smokers will be explored.
The researcher will also discuss the merits of
intention-to-treat analysis within a RCT design and
how participants’ attendance to allocated interventions
can impact on the results of a clinical trial.
The importance of developing effective nursing
interventions in smoking cessation is uncontested.
This paper highlights the lessons learned from a
RCT and explores the implications for professional
practice and future research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventThe 2006 Royal College of Nursing International Nursing Research Conference - York Racecourse, York, United Kingdom
Duration: 21 Mar 200624 Mar 2006


ConferenceThe 2006 Royal College of Nursing International Nursing Research Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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