Smoking cessation in Victorian AOD treatment sector

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by Jo Grzelinska, Primary Health Care Consultant

Client: The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) is a pioneer in health promotion – the process of enabling people to increase control over and improve their health. With a primary focus on promoting good health and preventing chronic disease, VicHealth creates and funds world-class interventions. VicHealth conducts vital research to advance Victoria’s population health and produces and supports public campaigns to promote a healthier state.

Challenge: Tobacco smoking is one of the leading causes of death and disease in Australia. While population level tobacco control efforts are considered a public health success story, there is still a smoking prevalence rate of 85 per cent for people with alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems. Consequently, VicHealth sought to review the smoking cessation support provided through the Victorian public AOD treatment service system to inform VicHealth’s future investment in tobacco control.

Response: Larter conducted a statewide sector review to:

  • explore existing smoking cessation practices, and identify opportunities to improve cessation support provided to clients in the AOD system
  • identify enablers and barriers to implementing a systematic approach to smoking cessation in the AOD system and the once-off and recurrent resources required.

The review comprised a sector scan with key agencies, qualitative interviewing with practitioners and managers, and onsite indepth organisational investigation with staff, clients and executives. Larter also modelled of the potential costs for implementing various smoking cessation activities to support the review findings.

Outcome: Larter’s review found that implementing a systematic approach to smoking cessation in the AOD system requires an integrated process of cultural change, workplace practice change, and sector change. The Victorian AOD sector is ready for this change but a tailored approach should be considered to support this population group to reduce or cease smoking.

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Image credit: ^ Missi ^ via Flikr Creative Commons

VicHealth thoroughly enjoyed working with Larter Consulting on this project. Larter Consulting not only properly understood the aim and purpose for the project, the team also added value to the project through their experience in conducting similar projects and their knowledge of the AoD sector.

Larter Consulting was very responsive to VicHealth’s needs and all aspects of the project were completed to an exceptionally high standard and within tight timelines.

Maya Rivis
Principal Program Officer, Alcohol and Tobacco, VicHealth (2014)