Northwest Territories

Smoking cessation in cancer care

Access to smoking cessation supports in cancer care settings in 2022-23

  • The Medical Oncology Clinic and Chemotherapy Unit at Stanton Territorial Hospital* offer people with cancer in-person support to quit smoking, including culturally appropriate supports for First Nations, Inuit and Métis with cancer. The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority Cancer Navigation Program also offers in-person and virtual support to quit smoking.
  • People with cancer are asked about their commercial tobacco use at regular intervals, using a standard tool. People who are interested can receive a prescription for a smoking cessation medication and information about the NWT Help Line. Stanton Territorial Hospital is working to systematize the identification of people who use commercial tobacco and the supports they are provided.
  • People registered with the federal Non-Insured Health Benefits Program (NIHB) are eligible to receive free smoking cessation medications, as are people registered with the NWT Métis Health Benefits Program. Residents not covered under any other benefit program can receive free smoking cessation medications through the Health Services Administration Office.

Smoking cessation in cancer care implementation level in 2022-23: SILVER

Quality dimension Implementation criteria met Level
Behavioural counselling Offers 3A (Ask, Advise, Act) or 5A (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange) model BRONZE
Pharmacotherapy Offers free varenicline, bupropion and/or nicotine replacement therapy GOLD
Person-centred Assessing the availability of a patient representative to participate in program planning PRE-IMPLEMENTATION
Culturally competent Staff cultural competency training is required, resources for people with cancer are available, and smoking cessation interventions incorporate culturally safe approaches GOLD
Partnership Determining the availability of smoking treatment expertise PRE-IMPLEMENTATION
Indicator measurement and reporting Developing tools and infrastructure to track program performance and collect data PRE-IMPLEMENTATION

Smoking Cessation Action Framework Implementation Checklist

Impact of funded project (2021-23)

  • After a delay due to COVID-19, the Northwest Territories project began in earnest in 2021. Building on a previously funded planning project, funding and support enabled the Government of Northwest Territories to work with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to provide a course on tobacco cessation to 50 healthcare providers, including all chemotherapy unit staff at Stanton Territorial Hospital. In-person, First Nations-specific training was also delivered through CAMH to Community Health Representatives.
  • The government adapted educational materials on culturally safe smoking cessation for healthcare providers and people with cancer. It also collaborated with the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority to add smoking cessation medications to the Northwest Territories Health Centre Formulary and allow nurses to administer the first two weeks of treatment, resulting in better access to these medications for communities.

Northwest Territories cancer care settings offering smoking cessation went from 0 out of 1 in 2018-19, to 1 out of 1 in 2022-23. The implementation level went from bronze in 2019-20 to silver in 2022-23.
*Most people the Northwest Territories that require cancer care go to the Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife and/or the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Alberta.