Smoking cessation in cancer care in Alberta

Helping patients with cancer to quit smoking

Alberta Health Services – Cancer Care Alberta Smoking Cessation Services

Offers smoking cessation support to ambulatory patients with cancer:

  • Front-line staff at cancer centres screen patients for tobacco use, advise them to quit smoking and refer patients to community-based smoking cessation services. Community-based smoking cessation services include the helpline (AlbertaQuits) and smoking cessation groups (QuitCore).
  • Patients enrolled in a smoking cessation program or in some provincial social support programs are eligible for financial coverage of smoking cessation medications, including nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and prescription medications.

COVID-19 response: Cancer Care Alberta partnered with Alberta Health Services Tobacco Reduction Program to offer virtual group cessation programs (QuitCore) for patients with cancer.

Cancer patients’ access to smoking cessation support

no smoking iconIn 2020, all 17 cancer centres in Alberta offered outpatients support to quit smoking; however, culturally appropriate supports for First Nations, Inuit and Métis patients with cancer were not yet available.

Partnership-funded project – Smoking cessation to optimize cancer outcomes project


Overall smoking cessation in cancer care implementation level: Silver

Category Implementation criteria met Level
Behavioural Counselling Offers 3A (Ask, Advise, Act) or 5A (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange) model Bronze
Pharmacotherapy Offers subsidized varenicline, bupropion and/or NRT Silver
Person-Centered Engages patients in program planning and gathers patient feedback Silver
Culturally Competent Offers staff cultural competency training Bronze
Partnership Works with a multi-disciplinary team and community partners Silver
Indicator Measurement and Reporting Collects and reports on adoption and reach data Bronze

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