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Preparing pharmacy students and pharmacists to provide tobacco cessation counselling



    1. Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics, University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Chapel Hill, USA
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Dennis M. Williams Pharm.D., BCPS, AE-C, Associate Professor and Vice Chairman. Associate Professor and Vice Chairman Dennis Williams, Beard Hall CB#7569, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA. Tel: 919-962-7122; Fax: 919-962-0644; E-mail:


Issues. Tobacco use and abuse is a major health risk for people across the world and is responsible for nearly 500 000 deaths in the USA annually. Currently, the accepted role of pharmacists is the provision of pharmaceutical care, which includes health promotion and prevention of disease. Pharmacists should work collaboratively with other health-care professionals to provide tobacco-cessation counselling to smokers. Approach. Recently, in the USA, a curriculum has been developed by faculty at a school of pharmacy and distributed to pharmacy schools across the nation in a train-the-trainer format. This curriculum has been implemented in varying degrees in schools across the USA. In addition, there are national efforts to increase the involvement of practising pharmacists in promoting tobacco cessation by offering comprehensive programs or by increasing awareness and referrals. Key Findings. The acceptance of the Rx for Change programs by schools of pharmacy has been high and the education and skills are being taught to most current pharmacy graduates. There is an increased emphasis on the role of pharmacists to assist in meeting national health goals including reducing tobacco-related risks. Implications. Numerous opportunities exist for pharmacists to provide tobacco cessation counselling. Barriers to implementation of programs include lack of confidence by pharmacists and a perceived lack of demand by patients. Conclusion. The consequences of tobacco use are well known. Pharmacists should enhance their involvement in health promotion and disease prevention and actively develop tobacco cessation counselling programs using available resources for the benefit of their patients. [Williams DM. Preparing pharmacy students and pharmacists to provide tobacco cessation counselling. Drug Alcohol Rev 2009;28:533–540]