Smoking cessation in cancer care in Nunavut

Helping patients to quit smoking

Department of Health – Tobacco and Cannabis Program

  • All Nunavummiut patients with cancer receive care at cancer centres in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta or Northwest Territories, depending on which region of Nunavut they reside.
  • The Tobacco and Cannabis Program supports patients to receive smoking cessation services at cancer centres outside of the territory. The program provides patients returning to Nunavut with educational information about cancer and smoking cessation and referrals for cessation services at the Quitline or in communities.
  • The Tobacco and Cannabis Program is working to implement the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation (OMSC) for patients at Qikiqtani General Hospital and scale up the OMSC territory-wide in the long term.
  • Clients registered with the federal Non-Insured Health Benefits Program (NIHB) are eligible to receive free smoking cessation medications; residents not covered under NIHB may be eligible to receive free smoking cessation medications through the Extended Health Benefits Program.

COVID-19 response: Medical travelers and others staying at isolation hubs in Ottawa prior to entering Nunavut are offered smoking cessation support, including free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). These services will be available in Winnipeg in 2021.

Cancer patients’ access to smoking cessation support

no smoking iconIn 2020, Qikiqtani General Hospital did not yet provide a smoking cessation program to all outpatients undergoing cancer treatment, but many Nunavummiut patients receiving cancer treatment outside the territory had access to culturally appropriate smoking cessation support.

Partnership-funded project – Tobacco cessation for Nunavummiut cancer patients


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 free varenicline, bupropion and/or NRT Gold
Person-Centered Engages patients in program planning Bronze
Culturally Competent Offers staff cultural competency training and patient resources Silver
Partnership Works with a multi-disciplinary team and community partners Silver
Indicator Measurement and Reporting Developing tools and infrastructure to track program performance and collect data Pre-implementation

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