Introduction: Hospital pharmacists currently play a limited role in the management of nicotine withdrawal and smoking-cessation. They have multiple tasks and limited time; a strong evidence base is required to determine importance of including smoking-cessation interventions into their routine practice.
Aims: The aims of this study were to evaluate the effectiveness of a hospital pharmacist initiated smoking-cessation intervention (SCI) in increasing the utilisation of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) in hospitalised smokers, and in increasing quit rates post-discharge.
Methods: This study was conducted in a tertiary referral hospital using a pragmatic randomised control design. After screening, 100 inpatient smokers were enrolled and randomised by the research pharmacist (RP) to either the intervention or usual care arm (n = 50 for both arms). Smoking-cessation advice was available to all smokers during their hospital stay under the smoking management policy, which represented usual care. However, this approach is often unstructured and provided on an ad-hoc basis. Those in the intervention arm received brief SCI from the RP, who also facilitated NRT prescribing if required. Prescribing rates of NRT in the hospital and on discharge in both the groups were compared. Participants were contacted by phone three-months after enrolment to assess their seven-day point prevalence of abstinence (PPA) from smoking and use of NRT post-discharge.
Results: A significantly higher proportion of participants in the intervention arm used NRT in the hospital (82% vs. 24%, Χ
2 = 33.8, p < 0.001) and at discharge (68% vs. 12%, Χ
2 = 32.7, p < 0.0001) and significantly more participants who received SCI from the RP continued to use NRT after discharge (OR 3.1, CI 1.2 to 8.2). A similar number of participants in both the groups claimed seven-day PPA after three-months (18% usual-care vs. 15% intervention-arm, OR 0.8, CI 0.24 to 2.67).
Conclusions: Hospital pharmacist led brief SCI can enhance the utilisation of NRT in hospital and after discharge; there was no clear effect on cessation rates at three months. There is a need to explore feasible options for a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach to smoking-cessation in hospital and across the continuum, which may have a greater impact on long term smoking-cessation rates.