20% of patients admitted to hospital are smokers
Smoking is the number one, most preventable health risk factor in Canada. Smoking causes countless health problems commonly leading to hospitalization, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness, and many forms of cancer. Successful cessation is associated with significantly lower rates of re-hospitalization and mortality. Ironically, only a few Canadian hospitals have in place systems, policies, or procedures that ensure and support the consistent, effective identification and treatment of all tobacco users admitted to their institutions.
Hospitalization presents a unique opportunity to initiate comprehensive tobacco cessation treatment across several disciplines within an institution. Smoke-free hospital policies require at least temporary abstinence from tobacco. Illness motivates smokers to try to quit. Hospital-based interventions have been shown to help patients remain abstinent in the long term. Furthermore, intensive smoking cessation treatment has been shown to significantly reduce re-hospitalization and all-cause mortality, potentially reducing wait times for several procedures. Not unlike other risk factors, there is a need for smoking to be identified and treated systematically as part of standard practice in all healthcare settings.