A new program launched by the Niagara Health System targets diabetes patients in Niagara who put their health at increased risk by smoking.
Thirty to 35 per cent of diabetes patients registered in the regional Niagara Diabetes Centre smoke cigarettes, leading the hospital’s diabetes centre and Addiction Services to launch the Quality Intensive Treatment for Smoking (QITS) initiative.
“Smoking is unhealthy for everyone, and the importance of quitting smoking cannot be underestimated for patients who have a chronic health condition like diabetes,” says David Barry, Manager of Outpatient Addiction and Withdrawal Management Services. “For example, many diabetes patients have circulation issues, and smoking makes this condition worse.”
“We know it is a challenge for people to quit smoking, and we have various supports in place to help them with their tobacco addiction,” says David.
QITS is available to all diabetes patients involved in the Niagara Diabetes Centre, with access to services at the Ontario Street Site in St. Catharines and the Welland Site. Participants will work with a Nurse Practitioner and Addiction Counsellor. They will receive a health assessment; therapies which include smoking cessation aids like nicotine replacement therapy, support and counselling; and ongoing follow up as necessary.
“This is an excellent opportunity for healthy lifestyle management strategies as it relates to smoking for our diabetes patients,” says Cathy Lanteigne, Manager of the Niagara Diabetes Centre. “The ability to stop smoking will not only decrease the risk of other health concerns such as heart disease, circulation issues or amputations but also decreases a financial burden for individuals that are already taxed with costs associated with their diabetes management.”
Niagara Health, which is 100 per cent smoke-free on its properties, provides similar services to patients and staff to help them manage their nicotine addictions or quit smoking.