• abuse;
  • clinical practice guidelines;
  • domestic violence;
  • nurse-led smoking cessation;
  • smoking cessation

Aims and objectives.  This discursive paper explores issues of abuse during smoking cessation counselling.

Background.  During a training session for a smoking cessation intervention pilot study, nurses expressed concerns about issues of abuse that had previously surfaced during cessation counselling in their practice. Abused women are more likely to smoke. As guidelines recommend integrating cessation interventions into practice, issues of abuse are likely to surface.

Methods.  A literature review and synthesis of abuse and smoking cessation was undertaken to arrive at recommendations for practice.

Results.  There are a few suggestions about how to manage abuse within cessation counselling, but none have been studied: (1) integrate stress-management strategies, (2) assess for abuse, (3) provide separate interventions for partners to create a safe environment, and (4) develop interventions that consider the relationship couples have with tobacco. However, coping strategies alone do not address abuse, screening without treatment is not helpful, and partner interventions assume both partners are open to quitting/counselling. In contrast, as with all clinical practice, abuse and cessation would be considered separate but intertwined problems, and following best practice guidelines for abuse would provide the guidance on how to proceed. After care has been taken to address abuse, it is the patient’s decision whether to continue with cessation counselling.

Conclusion.  Guidelines addresses both care planning and the ethical/legal issues associated with the disclosure of abuse and provide a practical tool for addressing abuse that obviates the need to tailor cessation interventions to abuse.

Relevance to clinical practice.  This paper clarifies a relationship between smoking and abuse and the subsequent implications for smoking cessation interventions and highlights the importance of addressing abuse and smoking cessation separately, even though they are interrelated problems. It provides nurses with appropriate initial responses when abuse is disclosed during an unexpected encounter such as during a smoking cessation intervention.