Guidelines for assisting nicotine dependent staff

WA Health is a smoke-free environment

These guidelines provide information to support WA Health staff to quit smoking and are based on best practice for smoking cessation and nicotine withdrawal management.

Support for staff

Smoking by staff members is not permitted on any WA Health premises.

Smoking is only allowed during designated breaks, outside of WA Health grounds.

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and other personal vaporisers for delivery of nicotine or other substances are not permitted to be used in any area where smoking is restricted.

Breach of this policy will be dealt with in accordance with the WA Health Misconduct and Discipline policy (PDF 78KB) and local guidelines where applicable.

Health services provide a level of support that is determined by the circumstances of the health service and its pharmacy.

Generally, health services will provide staff who smoke with a single course of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). At the discretion of each health service further NRT support may also become available.

Referrals may be also provided to provide ongoing cessation support for staff accessing NRT treatment.

1. Nicotine replacement therapy

NRT is available in the form of patches, lozenges, gum and inhalers. At least one of these forms of NRT will be made available to staff, and dispensed through WA Health pharmacies where possible.

When administering NRT products, the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence (PDF 270KB) will be used to determine the level of dependence.

This is performed by designated WA Health staff prior to dispensing NRT. Contraindications for NRT use should also be noted at this time.

2. Precautions

It is necessary to note there are precautions for staff with cardiovascular disease and for pregnant and breastfeeding women who take NRT.

NRT can be considered during pregnancy if the staff member has tried to quit without success and the benefits of quitting outweigh the risk of pharmacotherapy and continued smoking.

3. Points of referral

To improve the likelihood of successfully quitting, smokers who should be encouraged to access where to get help to quit smoking for ongoing support and the below resources. 

  • Health service staff trained in brief intervention
  • General Practitioner
  • Community Drug Service Team
  • Pharmacist.

Cost of NRT patches

The cost price of NRT patches for hospital pharmacies is $44.00 per pack for a 28 day supply. The price is the same for 7, 14 or 21 mg and is current as of September 2014.

NRT quick facts

  • An 8 week NRT patch therapy can be as effective as a 12 week course.
  • Costs may vary slightly between pharmacies.
  • Costs may vary depending on the individual’s level of nicotine dependence, and strength of patches recommended.

More information

  • Chronic Disease Prevention Directorate
    Tobacco Policy Section
    Phone: 9222 6800
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