Smoking cessation in cancer care in Saskatchewan

Helping patients with cancer to quit smoking

Saskatchewan Cancer Agency – Smoking Cessation Services

Offers smoking cessation support to ambulatory patients with cancer:

  • New patients with cancer are asked about tobacco use at intake, advised to quit and referred to their community pharmacist for counselling and smoking cessation medications, as well as the Smokers’ Helpline (provincial quitline) or Talk Tobacco (Indigenous quitline) for virtual support. Community pharmacists provide smoking cessation services through the Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan’s Partnership to Assist in the Cessation of Tobacco program.
  • Patients enrolled in provincial social support programs are eligible for financial coverage of prescription smoking cessation medications through the Saskatchewan Formulary. Patients registered with the federal Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program are eligible to receive free smoking cessation medications. 

COVID-19 response: Smoking cessation services for patients with cancer shifted from in-person to virtual counselling by community pharmacists and the Smokers’ Helpline. Using short-term funding, patients with cancer received free smoking cessation medications by mail in 2020, and until March 2022, can receive free samples of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) at the cancer centres.

Cancer patients’ access to smoking cessation

no smoking iconIn 2020, the two cancer centres in Saskatchewan offered outpatients support to quit smoking and, in June 2020, began referring First Nations, Inuit and Métis patients to the Talk Tobacco helpline for culturally appropriate support.

Partnership-funded project – Saskatchewan Cancer Agency’s tobacco cessation 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 with an opt-out approach Silver
Pharmacotherapy Offers prescription for varenicline, bupropion and/or NRT Bronze
Person-Centered Engages patients in program planning Bronze
Culturally Competent Offers staff cultural competency training Bronze
Partnership Works with multi-disciplinary team and community partners, with mechanisms for information sharing to track patient progress Gold
Indicator Measurement and Reporting Collects and reports on adoption, reach, uptake and outcome data Gold

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