Smoking cessation in cancer care

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

  • The majority of cancer centres in Quebec offer people with cancer a referral to a community program to quit smoking, with some centres offering a comprehensive smoking cessation program and culturally appropriate supports for people with cancer from Indigenous communities.
  • People with cancer are asked about their commercial tobacco use and referred to community programs for smoking cessation support, such as Quit Smoking Centres (CAT – ‘Centres d’abandon du tabagisme’) or the provincial quitline (J’ARRÊTE).
  • Seniors, individuals receiving social assistance and individuals without private health insurance are eligible for free smoking cessation medications.

Impact of funded project (2019-23)  

  • Funding and support enabled two Integrated University Health and Social Services Centres (CIUSSS) –  CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal and CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal – to implement and monitor a comprehensive and integrated smoking cessation program at outpatient cancer clinics in three hospitals.
  • Using the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation (OMSC), a program designed by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, the CIUSSS systematized the identification, support, and referral of people with cancer who used commercial tobacco. Using an opt-out approach, people with cancer received behavioural counselling, advice about smoking cessation medications and follow-up support from a healthcare provider at the cancer centre and/or were referred to a community Quit Smoking Centre (CAT) for additional, ongoing support. The CIUSSS are committed to sustaining the program and expanding it to other areas in the region.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on this project, particularly related to staff turnover and redeployments, which delayed the implementation of the program.