Issues: There are 17.3 million nurses worldwide, the largest group of health-care professionals, and they have great potential to address the epidemic of tobacco use and its related morbidity and mortality. However, the evidence indicates that the educational preparation of nurses for tobacco control remains inadequate.
Approach: This paper provides an overview of the efficacy of nurses in the delivery of smoking cessation interventions, existing tobacco control content in nursing educational programs, model curricula, teaching resources and strategies for reducing barriers to curricular change.
Key findings: Despite the efficacy of nursing intervention for tobacco cessation, lack of appropriate knowledge and/or skill presents a major problem for implementation. An important factor fostering this lack of preparation is limited tobacco control content in current nursing educational programs. Barriers to enhancing and building this curricula include lack of preparation of educators, low priority for this content in an already overloaded curricula, negative attitudes, continued smoking by nursing students and/or faculty and lack of tested curricula. The availability of new tobacco control resources, including those specifically tailored for nurses can assist educators in teaching this content and nurses in implementing interventions.
Implications: Research and changes in policy are needed to ensure that nursing education includes essential content on tobacco control.
Conclusion: Nurses can be effective in delivering tobacco cessation interventions. Efforts are needed to promote curriculum that ensures that all nursing students and practicing nurses receive tobacco control content and are competent in the delivery of interventions; and to disseminate resources to nursing educators