As part of a statewide Tobacco Cessation initiative, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), in collaboration with Health Quality Innovators (HQI), educated and trained 19 community pharmacists to use Quit Now Virginia, a tobacco cessation quitline, when providing services to their patients.
Quit Now Virginia, part of the Virginia Tobacco Control Program (TCP), is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) best practice service that has been proven to increase the quit rate by over 30%. It ties local, state and national partnerships together in a way to make the most health impact on people and reduce death and disease caused by tobacco use. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and is a contributing factor to many illnesses and chronic diseases, according to the CDC.
The participating pharmacists in Virginia, many located in low economic and rural communities, interacted with each patient, encouraging participation in the program, and this collaborative effort resulted in 56 referrals in the first two months of the program. The pharmacies received training and tobacco cessation resources, which equipped them to discuss tobacco use with patients and encourage help join a program to quit.
“Pharmacists have a unique and vital relationship with their patients and are trusted medical professionals in their communities,” said Gina Roberts, Acting Program Manager, Tobacco Control Program, VDH.
. “Having these pharmacists become Virginia Quit Now Referral Sites and encouraging their patients to quit tobacco and get cessation counseling from trained tobacco cessation counselors is a big step towards their patients’ quit journey.”
The Virginia Department of Health is a 2022 Health Quality Innovator of the Year runner up in the Collaboration Category. Click HERE to read about all the winners and runners up.