Pharmacy stop-smoking services are an essential part of the UK’s public health strategy. However, quit rates are lower than in specialist and GP services.
Researchers from three UK universities interviewed 25 pharmacists and support staff in East London to understand their attitudes towards recruitment and retention of smokers.
The advisors gave low priority to the recruitment of smokers because they believed that they were not paid enough by the NHS to provide the service and that interactions with smokers might be “challenging”. Suggestions to improve the service included developing patient-centred communications, training counter assistants and providing flexibility to extend the programme if necessary.
The researchers conclude in BMJ Open (online, 5 July 2016) that smoking cessation advisers feel they lack the interpersonal skills to deal with smokers and that training and possibly more funding should be considered.