Smoking cessation in cancer care in Ontario

Helping patients with cancer to quit smoking

Ontario Health – Smoking Cessation in Regional Cancer Programs

Offers smoking cessation support to ambulatory patients with cancer:

  • Outpatients at cancer centres are screened for tobacco use, advised to quit smoking and provided with a referral to on-site or community smoking cessation services, including the provincial quitline.
  • Free or low-cost smoking cessation medications, including nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), are available in some cancer centres. Prescriptions for smoking cessation medications may be offered to patients and are covered under the provincial drug benefit program for many patients. Limited free NRT is available to Ontario residents through the STOP on the Net program.

COVID-19 response: An online, interactive learning module is being developed to connect patients with cancer to virtual smoking cessation supports. New educational resources on smoking, COVID-19 and cancer, and quitting smoking before surgery were developed to meet the needs of people with cancer during the pandemic and beyond.

Cancer patients’ access to smoking cessation support

no smoking iconIn 2020, all 14 regional cancer centres in Ontario offered outpatients support to quit smoking.

In 12 of the 14 regional cancer centres, culturally appropriate supports were offered to First Nations, Inuit and Métis patients with cancer, such as through Indigenous Navigators. Tobacco-Wise Leads work across the province to provide culturally appropriate supports to First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous people. The Talk Tobacco helpline is also available to support Indigenous people in Ontario.

Partnership-funded project – Implementing measures for patient-reported outcomes to verify the effectiveness of smoking cessation


Overall smoking cessation in cancer care implementation level: Gold

Category Implementation criteria met Level
Behavioural Counselling Offers 3A (Ask, Advise, Act) or 5A (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange) model with an opt-out approach Silver
Pharmacotherapy Offers subsidized varenicline, bupropion and/or NRT Silver
Person-Centered Engages patients in program planning, gathers patient feedback, and evaluates patient outcomes Gold
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 Collects and reports on adoption, reach, uptake and outcome data Gold

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