Address the gaps in tobacco cessation training and services: developing professional organisational alliances to create social movements

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2009 Sep;28(5):558-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2009.00112.x.


Issues: To contribute towards reversing the tobacco pandemic, professional organisational alliances must reduce the wide international variability in the smoking rates among health-care professionals and students, and also address the gaps in tobacco cessation training and services.

Approach: Ongoing international surveys for monitoring smoking rates could provide the impetus for these alliances to develop programs that reduce smoking rates among professional and lay populations.

Key findings: Health professional organisations must advocate for systematically implementing comprehensive tobacco cessation training programs.

Implications: These programs can include both evidence-based interventions and experience-based learning innovations. These innovations can help individuals address the limitations of evidence-based guidelines. This shift from teaching individuals about changing-specific risk behaviours to engaging individuals to learn how to change any risk behaviour expands the reach and impact of behaviour change programs.

Conclusions: Practitioners and staff need first-hand experience of these learning innovations before guiding patients through the same process. Using both evidence-based guidelines and experience-based learning methods, organisational leaders can develop professional alliances to create social movements that promote healthy habits in general. For example, they can develop voluntary learning programs in primary care and community settings that are led by patients and that are for patients. Such bottom-up approaches have greater potential yield in addressing gaps in health promotion and disease prevention, and particularly for tobacco cessation services. This strategy is a more feasible option for resource-limited, developing countries that cannot afford costly tobacco cessation programs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Education / methods
  • Health Education / trends
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Health Promotion / trends
  • Humans
  • Professional Role*
  • Social Environment*
  • Societies / trends*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation* / methods