Tackling tobacco: addressing high smoking prevalence among mental health consumers through systems change

S Walsberger, L Twyman, C Watts, A Sobhan, R Ireland, B Bonevski

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstract


Background and challenges to implementation Smoking prevalence is five-times higher among Australian mental health consumers than the general population. Smoking cessation support is not routinely provided in community mental health services. Intervention or response Cancer Council NSW's Tackling Tobacco program partners with not-for-profit community mental health services to assess opportunities for change and develop an action plan for systems change: data collection and monitoring; leadership; policy; supportive systems; staff training and provision of quit support. A simple survey-type tool was developed to identify opportunities for change and completed pre- and post-project to track progress. Pre- and post-surveys have been completed in 11 of services since 2014. Projects aim to achieve at least four systems changes across the six elements. Results and lessons learnt 100% of the 11 services where pre- and post-surveys were conducted have achieved at least four changes, such as developed a written smoking policy, trained staff, routinely recorded smoking status, and assisted consumers and staff to reduce or quit smoking. The six elements have clarified expectations for systems changes more specific practice guidelines have the potential to improve the quality of smoking care delivered and smoking outcomes for consumers further. Conclusions and key recommendations Tackling Tobacco has successfully achieved systems changes in all mental health services. Future plans include developing evidence based guidelines to support systems change to address smoking in community mental health services. A consensus process and clustered randomised controlled trial is planned to validate the guidelines and the revised survey, set benchmarks for systems change to address each guideline, and to examine the effectiveness of the systems change intervention at reducing smoking rates amongst consumers attending community managed mental health services.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA909
Pages (from-to)347-348
Number of pages2
JournalTobacco Induced Diseases
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 7 Mar 20189 Mar 2018


  • Conference abstract
  • Conference poster
  • Cancer Council NSW
  • Tackling Tobacco


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