Support for smokers in a new light

Monday, 19 June 2017

As UON campuses prepare to go completely smoke-free on 1 July 2017, Cancer Institute NSW Early Career Fellow and behavioural scientist Dr Flora Tzelepis is conducting a new study to determine the effectiveness of video consultations in supporting smokers to quit.

The study, funded by the Cancer Institute NSW, will increase our understanding of which smoking cessation strategies are most effective for smokers in regional and remote areas.

“Real-time video conferencing technology, also referred to as telemedicine or telehealth, transmits live video and audio of the smoking cessation advisor and client to one another over the internet and provides a form of visual communication,” Flora said.

“While video is already used by health care professionals to provide consultations in the clinical setting, the application of video consultations is not routine practice to help smokers to quit.”

If found to be effective, video sessions could be included in the suite of smoking cessation services offered by quitlines and smoking cessation service providers worldwide.

Flora fully supports the smoke-free direction that UON has chosen.

“The University is providing a supportive environment for people who wish to quit smoking and reducing other people’s exposure to second hand smoke. These are both very positive developments,” she said.

“Helping people to quit smoking is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work.”

Thinking about quitting?

Flora and her colleagues are currently recruiting participants for their study.

“Those who participate in our study will be offered either video support sessions (via Skype, FaceTime or other form of video communication), telephone support calls or written materials,” she said.

If you or a friend are based in a regional or remote area of NSW such as Port Macquarie, Orange, Taree, Tamworth, Armidale or Moree and are interested in joining the study, you can read more here.

“There are various support programs for people looking to stop smoking. They include calling the NSW Quitline on 13 7848, individual or group face-to-face sessions, web-based programs such as iCanQuit, using nicotine replacement therapies and visiting their general practitioner to discuss prescription medications,” Flora said.

UON staff can also receive support through the University Health Service, the Employee Assistance Program and the Callaghan Campus Pharmacy.

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