Health targets: Better help for smokers to quit

What is the target?

  • 90% of PHO enrolled patients who smoke have been offered help to quit smoking by a health care practitioner in the last 15 months.
  • 90% of pregnant women who identify as smokers upon registration with a DHB-employed midwife or Lead Maternity Carer are offered brief advice and support to quit smoking.

From quarter one 2015/16 the primary care target shifted its focus to the entire enrolled population of people who smoke and not only those seen in primary care, and covers advice provided over 15 months, instead of 12 months.

From quarter one 2016/17 the hospital component of the target is no longer reported as a health target. This change was made after the 95% target was met for several consecutive quarters. The hospital target results will continue to be published on the Ministry’s website along with the maternity target results.

Note the maternity target remains developmental and reported results cover only a proportion of pregnant women who identify as smokers.

Why is this target area important?

Smoking kills an estimated 5000 people in New Zealand every year, and smoking-related diseases are a significant opportunity cost to the health sector. Most smokers want to quit, and there are simple effective interventions that can be routinely provided in both primary and secondary care.

This target is designed to prompt providers to routinely ask about smoking status as a clinical ‘vital sign’ and then to provide brief advice and offer quit support to current smokers. There is strong evidence that brief advice is effective at prompting quit attempts and long-term quit success. The quit rate is improved further by the provision of effective cessation therapies – pharmaceuticals, in particular nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and telephone or face-to-face support.

Who are target champions?

Karen Evison National Programme Manager, Tobacco Control Programme.

Karen Evison
Target Champion

John McMenamin Co-Target Champion (Primary Care).

Dr John McMenamin
Co-Target Champion (Primary Care)

Previous targets

  • In 2009/10, the target was that 80% of hospitalised smokers would be provided with advice and help to quit by July 2010.
  • In 2010/11, the target was that 90% of hospitalised smokers would be provided with advice and help to quit by July 2011.
  • In 2011/12, the target was that 95% of hospitalised smokers would be provided with advice and help to quit by July 2012.
  • In 2012/13 and 2014/15, the target was that 95% of hospitalised smokers and 90% of patients who smoke and are seen by a health practitioner in primary care would be provided with advice and help to quit.
  • In 2015/16 the target was that 90% of PHO enrolled patients who smoke have been offered help to quit smoking by a health care practitioner in the last 15 months. The hospital and maternity target results were published on the Ministry’s website only.
  • In 2016/17 the hospital results were no longer reported as a health target. Results continue to be published on the Ministry’s website.
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