Thursday, January 8, 2015

CDPHE partners with Safeway to help Coloradans quit smoking

Starting this month, Safeway pharmacists will ask customers about their tobacco use and refer them to the Colorado QuitLine if they are ready to quit smoking.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment partnered with Safeway to implement an “Ask, Advise, Refer” program at the company’s 100 Colorado pharmacies. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will ask each customer about his or her tobacco use, advise smokers to quit, and refer them to the stop-smoking resources available through the Colorado QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

“The Colorado QuitLine has a proven track record of helping people quit smoking for good, and pharmacists can play an important role in connecting individuals to this resource,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer at the department. “We thank Safeway for its commitment to the community and the health of its customers.”

The Colorado Quitline is a free online and telephone resource for Colorado residents ages 15 years and older who are ready to quit smoking. The QuitLine provides trained coaches for counseling and follow-up; stop-smoking tips and resources; and free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges to those who are medically eligible. In 2014, the Colorado QuitLine served its 300,000th caller.

Safeway is the first community pharmacy chain with an organization-wide initiative to include brief smoking cessation interventions as a routine component of customer consultation. The company successfully tested the program in California before rolling it out nationwide.

“Safeway Pharmacy recognizes that just as pharmacists made an important contribution to health promotion and disease prevention by increasing community access to immunizations, pharmacists now can address the No. 1 preventable cause of disease and death with a proven tobacco cessation program,” said Safeway’s Parisa Vatanka, a doctor of pharmacy.

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