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Quit announces new training and resources for eye health professionals to help patients stop smoking

Posted 7 Oct, 2020

On World Sight Day, Quit and Vision Initiative have launched an Australian-first; online training and resources for eye health professionals that aim to reduce and prevent smoking-related diseases, including eye disease, among their patients.

A survey conducted by Quit and Vision Initiative in June shows that most eye health professionals, including optometrists and orthoptists, are not aware that most of their patients who smoke would like to be offered help to quit, and most don’t feel confident in providing smoking cessation support.

Quit Director, Dr Sarah White, says that the education package has been specially developed to help eye health professionals talk to their patients and offer practical assistance.

“The training and resources provide eye health professionals with the knowledge and skills required to use Quit's brief advice model: Ask, Advise, Help to identify patients who smoke and help them access best practice tobacco dependence treatment,” she said.

“It’s a fast, simple and effective way to have a conversation about quitting smoking with patients. Ask, Advise, Help is easily integrated into a normal consultation.”

The training and resources were developed by Quit, Vision Initiative and an industry reference group. They assist eye health professionals to link patients who smoke with best practice tobacco dependence treatment; a combination of Quitline counselling and stop smoking medications.

Cancer Council Victoria research has shown that people who smoke are aware that smoking is not good for health and can lead to conditions such as lung cancer and other cancers, but only 5% are aware that smoking can lead to eye health conditions such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

“I’d encourage all eye health professionals to undertake the training,” said Dr White. “Treating health professionals are at the frontline of eye health and have an important role to play.”

Watch a short video to learn more about the model and training and feel free to share it with your networks. The training and resources are available online and are easy to use. Register at www.quit.org.au/eyehp. The training is free for Victorian and SA optometrists and Victorian orthoptists. A registration fee of $20 applies for other states and territories. Completion of the training provides CPD points.

For more information about Quit's brief advice training and resources for eye health professionals, please email quit@cancervic.org.au.

Calling the Quitline is one of the most effective ways of quitting smoking. Quitline counsellors are trained to listen and talk through ways to quit. The first call often takes around 15 to 20 minutes and covers the caller’s smoking history, motivation to quit and how smoking fits into the caller’s life.

For more quitting advice, visit quit.org.au or call the Quitline on 13 7848 between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday. Quitline is a non-judgemental and culturally inclusive telephone service for all, including the LGBTIQ+ community. Aboriginal Quitline counsellors are also available.
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