Smoking cessation and cancer care action framework

Design and implement an evidence-based smoking cessation program to ensure cancer patients receive support to quit smoking for the best treatment and quality of life

Smoking tobacco remains the leading preventable cause of cancer in Canada. Cancer patients who continue to smoke while receiving treatment often require higher doses of cancer drugs, receive treatment for longer periods, experience complications from surgeries, and are readmitted to hospitals more often when compared to non-smoking cancer patients.

This pan-Canadian smoking cessation action framework and accompanying Implementation checklist will help jurisdictions across Canada to deliver comprehensive, evidence-based smoking cessation programs in their cancer care settings. Helping patients quit smoking tobacco improves their treatment and health outcomes and affords significant economic benefits to the health system.

Curbing tobacco use by cancer patients can save Canadian health systems millions of dollars each year simply by preventing the need for additional cancer treatment.
-Dr. Graham Warren, Expert Advisor, the Partnership

This resource helps advance both the recently refreshed Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control, which calls for more ways to promote quitting smoking, and Health Canada’s Tobacco Strategy, which aims to reduce the population’s tobacco use to 5% by 2035.

Vision and goals

This Pan-Canadian Smoking Cessation Action Framework fills a gap in the cancer system and will facilitate widespread adoption of this important intervention. The Framework is well thought out and addresses the realities of busy cancer clinics.
-Dr. Drew Bethune, Senior Medical Director, Nova Scotia Health Authority Cancer Care Program

The Action Framework’s vision is that every cancer patient in Canada receives support to quit smoking for the best treatment and quality of life. This Action Framework provides guidance to administrators, clinicians, and cancer centre staff to achieve this vision.

The Action Framework outlines the following specific goals:

  • Establish processes for routine identification of tobacco smokers in cancer care settings.
  • Implement processes to systematically support cancer patients and families in quitting smoking by collaborating with community partners.
  • Develop person-centered approaches to quitting smoking along with culturally competent approaches for First Nations, Inuit and, or Métis cancer patients.
  • Evaluate and sustain approaches for cancer patients to quit smoking.

This Action Framework provides a foundation for clinicians to work together with partners and patients to adopt evidence-based cessation initiatives to help Canadians who smoke to quit or reduce the harms of their addiction to nicotine.
-Archie Stewart, Patient and Family Advisor, the Partnership

Components of the framework

To achieve these goals, the Action Framework details components that make up a comprehensive smoking cessation support program:

  • Evidence-based cessation support that is made up of behavioural counselling and pharmacotherapy
  • Cross-cutting key enablers to improve cessation support’s efficacy and impact, including person-centered approaches, culturally competent engagement and partnerships
  • Quality indicators to measure the performance of cessation support programs
  • An implementation checklist that helps cancer centres prepare to offer comprehensive cessation support and describes a step-by-step approach

Downloadable content