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Canadian study shows effectiveness of hospital-initiated smoking cessation programs


A new study from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI), in collaboration with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), has established that greater adoption of hospital-initiated tobacco cessation interventions improve patient outcomes and decrease further healthcare utilization. The study is published today in the British Medical Journal’s Tobacco Control.

In Canada, tobacco smoking is a leading cause of hospitalization, of overall healthcare utilization, and of mortality, and people who smoke daily average twice as many hospital days as people who have never been daily smokers. Hospitalization therefore provides a unique opportunity to initiate smoking cessation interventions.

The before and after study compared hospitalized people who smoke at one of 14 Ontario hospitals who had received the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation (n=726), to hospitalized people who smoke who had not (n=641), or who had received "usual care", to determine if implementation of the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation would reduce mortality and downstream healthcare use.

Results showed that:

  • 35% of the patients who participated in the Ottawa Model were smoke-free at 6-month follow up, compared to only 20% of the usual care participants.
  • Patients who received the Ottawa Model were 50% less likely to be re-admitted to the hospital for any cause, and 30% less likely to visit an emergency department in the 30 days following their initial hospitalization.
  • Smokers who received the Ottawa Model were 21% less likely to be re-hospitalized and 9% less likely to visit an emergency department, 2 years following their hospitalization.
  • Most importantly, the study showed a 40% reduction in 2-year mortality risk among patients who received the Ottawa Model.

“Given the low cost of these interventions, systematic smoking cessation programs that initiate treatments in hospital and attach patients to follow up support should be offered to all patients who smoke,“ said Kerri-Anne Mullen, lead author and program manager for the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation Network at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, and also a student scientist at ICES at the time of the study. “It’s a healthcare no-brainer. Strategies like this are cost-effective, will reduce subsequent healthcare use, but most importantly, they are life-saving and will distinctly enhance the well-being of our patients who smoke.”

Developed and powered by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation is a change management strategy that offers practical training to healthcare staff and implements clinical tools and procedures that ultimately lead to: the systematic identification and documentation of smoking status of all patients; the offer of strategic advice and pharmacological support to all smokers; and, the long-term follow up of smokers after hospital discharge.

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is Canada’s largest and foremost heart health centre dedicated to understanding, treating, and preventing heart disease. Its researchers are alive with discovery, ingenuity, insight and invention, setting new standards of clinical care, gaining scientific insight into heart disease, and contributing to the world’s storehouse of cardiovascular knowledge. The Heart Institute also trains the next generation of medical and research professionals, many of whom go on to become leaders in their fields. @HeartInstitute

The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) is an independent, non-profit organization that uses population-based health information to produce knowledge on a broad range of healthcare issues. Our unbiased evidence provides measures of health system performance, a clearer understanding of the shifting healthcare needs of Ontarians, and a stimulus for discussion of practical solutions to optimize scarce resources. ICES knowledge is highly regarded in Canada and abroad, and is widely used by government, hospitals, planners, and practitioners to make decisions about care delivery and to develop policy. For the latest ICES news, follow us on Twitter: @ICESOntario

The study “"Effectiveness of a hospital-initiated smoking cessation programme: 2-year health and healthcare outcomes"” was published today in BMJ’S Tobacco Control.

Study authors: Kerri A Mullen, Douglas G Manuel, Steven J Hawken, Andrew L Pipe, Douglas Coyle, Laura A Hobler, Jaime Younger, George A Wells, Robert D Reid


  • Vincent Lamontagne
  • Director, Corporate Communications
  • University of Ottawa Heart Institute
  • 613-761-4427 / [email protected]
  • Kathleen Sandusky
  • Media Advisor, ICES
  • [email protected]/(o) 416-480-4780 or (c) 416-434-7763


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