In the News

AARC Hosts Tobacco Cessation Summit

  Sign up now for the Tobacco-Free Lifestyle Roundtable’s
e-mail list

October 10, 2005
The AARC was awarded a grant from the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center located on the University of California at San Francisco campus for the purposes of convening a national summit on the important topic of tobacco cessation. Potential participants were invited to submit answers to a questionnaire demonstrating their expertise and commitment to making a difference in the area of tobacco cessation. The AARC selected 15 participants from an extensive list of potential candidates to participate in a tobacco cessation summit at the AARC Executive Office in Irving, Texas on October 8th and 9th.

Tobacco Cessation Summit Participants at the AARC Executive Office

The participants were:

Janette Salo Korby, (Minnesota) Cynthia Cary, (New York), Roland Romano (New Jersey), Alisa French, (Ohio), Sharon Grindal, (Louisiana), Laura Van Heest, (Michigan), Christine Rossi, (Maine), Lynda Erfurth, (Idaho), Susan Hinson, (North Carolina), Melynn Wakeman, (Arizona) Anne Stark, (Iowa), Kimberly Hunchuk, (Pennsylvania), Mikki Thompson, (Florida), John Wolfe, (Colorado), Karen Schell, (Kansas).

The summit was lead by a professional facilitator, Jolie Bain Pillsbury and was also attended by Connie Revell and Reason Reyes from the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, AARC President John Hiser and key representatives from the AARC staff. The purpose of the summit was to convene respiratory therapists with expert skills and experience in tobacco cessation to develop an action plan for the profession that will place respiratory therapists in a primary position to impact identification of smokers and provide early intervention techniques.

The summit participants were provided with an overview of key statistics, important findings in the scientific literature and survey results that framed the question, “where are we now?”

Smoking Cessation Leadership Center Deputy Director, Connie Revell addresses the summit participants

A series of discussions combined with small break out sessions provided direction on the key questions of “where do we want to go?” and “how do we get there?”

John Wolfe from Colorado makes a point during a break out session

The final result of the summit was the completion of an action plan that contains the following major premises:

  • Respiratory Therapists should be role models for a tobacco free lifestyle.
  • Respiratory Therapists are uniquely positioned to identify smokers in hospitals and provide front line information/basic counseling on tobacco cessation.
  • RT Department Directors should be an advocate for Respiratory Therapists providing tobacco cessation counseling in their institutions by providing proposals to their respective CEOs.
  • Training programs are needed to educate RT Directors on key elements of tobacco cessation programs and to provide specific training for Respiratory Therapists.
  • Educating consumers and having an impact on the number of people who use tobacco is one of the most profound areas of impact for Respiratory Therapists. The desired affect is to decrease the prevalence of lung disease and ease the financial burden of tobacco related health problems.

A series of techniques and strategies will be employed by “Tobacco Cessation Champions” throughout the United States. A key measure of accomplishment will be increasing the number of respiratory therapists who are involved in tobacco cessation in hospitals. A baseline survey of over 800 respiratory therapy managers and supervisors indicated that in 25% of the reported departments, none of the Respiratory Therapists were involved in tobacco cessation efforts. The goal of the Summit team is to decrease that number by 5% per year over the next 3 years utilizing the implementation plan just developed.

One of the most immediately visible parts of the implementation plan involves asking Respiratory Therapists to indicate their level of interest in a Tobacco-Free Lifestyle Roundtable.

Look for a visible presence at the AARC booth at the upcoming International Congress in San Antonio regarding the “Respiratory Therapist’s role in Tobacco Cessation,” and stay tuned for other updates and calls to action.