As a pharmacy technician you can play a vital role in supporting patients who are addicted to smoking by applying the 5A’s to your practice. The 5A’s are: Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange.
ASK every patient about their tobacco use and update that status on the patient profile. Smoking status can affect the metabolism of certain drugs so this is valuable information to make note of.
ADVISE all patients who smoke to quit. It’s important to watch your tone and body language. You don’t want to shame or embarrass your patient. Try saying “Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Have you ever thought about quitting?”
ASSESS the willingness of the patient to quit smoking. Ask if the patient is interested in quitting, or learning more about the supports available to them should they decide they would like to quit in the future. Remember, it’s ok if the patient says “No.” They may not be ready to quit yet, the important thing is to let them know you will be there for them when they are ready!
ASSIST every patient who indicates they are ready to quit. You can show them the nicotine replacement options your pharmacy has and refer them to a pharmacist to discuss these and other pharmacological options that are available.
ARRANGE follow up with the pharmacist and offer the patient encouragement as they battle their addiction. Patients often relapse and may need support to try to quit again.
You can learn more and find helpful resources at AlbertaQuits.ca.