A new smoking cessation initiative across south-eastern Victoria aims to make discussions about smoking a routine part of GP consultations.
The initiative, Smokefree Gippsland, officially launched in Traralgon on No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2019 and reinforces the crucial role of general practitioners in helping patients quit smoking. It is also a reminder to smokers in the community that their GP can help them with advice about the best way to quit.
Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Harriet Shing announced the initiative last Friday at Gippsland PHN in Traralgon as the first deliverable resulting from the State Government’s investment in the Latrobe Health Innovation Zone.
“Smokefree Gippsland champions the importance of GPs offering smoking cessation advice to help smokers quit,” said Ms Shing. We want to make sure all Victorians who smoke have the best chance of quitting, and this initiative will hopefully serve as a blueprint for other primary health networks across the state to embed smoking cessation as part of routine care in general practice.”
CEO of Gippsland PHN, Amanda Proposch, said that while the smoking rate is on the decline in the Latrobe Valley and some other parts of Gippsland, it has traditionally been higher than the Victorian state average.
“This initiative is about linking people in Gippsland who smoke with evidence-based support to quit. The campaign is being rolled out across the region and aims to remind people who smoke that their GP can provide advice to help them quit, and to support our hardworking GPs to have more effective conversations about smoking, more often,” said Ms Proposch.
Director of Quit Victoria, Dr Sarah White, said that targeted initiatives such as this are vital to ensure people who smoke get support to help them quit.
“Fundamentally, tobacco dependence doesn’t differ from any other type of dependency such as alcohol or opioid addiction. Tobacco contains nicotine which is highly addictive and nicotine withdrawal often makes the process of quitting challenging. It’s vital that smokers get all the information they need to help make their attempt a successful one,”
Research shows that the most effective way to stop smoking is with medications like nicotine replacement therapy, in combination with counselling provided through Quitline (13 7848). Quitline, run by highly-trained Quit specialists, works with people to develop a quit plan and give them strategies to deal with cravings and triggers.
For more information about quitting, speak to your GP or visit quit.org.au.
Smokefree Gippsland is a new initiative by Quit Victoria and Gippsland Primary Health Network that reinforces the crucial role of GPs in helping patients quit smoking and aims to embed smoking cessation as part of routine care in general practice
Quit Victoria is a partnership between VicHealth, the State Government of Victoria and Cancer Council Victoria.