Smoking cessation: Pharmacists helping patients kick the habit

Target Audience:

Pharmacists in community-based practice.

Universal program number: 0401-0000-17-004-H01-P
CE Broker tracking number: 20-612424
Activity type: Knowledge-based


To provide the community pharmacist with a variety of strategies and tools to help patients with smoking cessation, including a review of nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic smoking-cessation aids.


Cigarette smoking is the single largest preventable cause of premature death in the United States.1 Cigarette smoking has been a growing public health concern in the United States since 1964, when Luther L. Terry, M.D. released the first “Surgeon General Report” linking smoking to adverse health consequences.2  Documentation of the health risks of smoking and health benefits of quitting has swelled over the last 50-plus years.3 And while smoking has been declining, the rate of that decline has slowed.1 Sadly, the majority of first-users are young adults, with 87% of first cigarette use occurring before age 18 years. Along with the growing research on the exact mechanisms by which nicotine and smoking cause disease, there have been many advances in the smoking cessation arena — from the psychological journey of becoming ready to quit to the pharmacological and nonpharmacological aids to achieve a quit status. Interest in smoking cessation is mounting, with 68% of current smokers reporting they wanted to completely stop smoking in 2015.4 Pharmacists trained in smoking cessation are in a position to impact smokers’ lives in a profoundly positive way by helping them decide to quit, assisting in developing a quit plan and providing monitoring and follow-up to increase the odds of a successful quit plan. There also is movement to allow pharmacists to prescribe smoking cessation products, which they are able to do in California and New Mexico.

Learning objectives:

Upon completion of this program, the pharmacist should be able to:

  1. List how many Americans currently smoke, as well as recent smoking-related trends.
  2. Explain factors that contribute to successful smoking-cessation strategies that are evidence-based, including goal-setting methods.
  3. Describe how motivational interviewing techniques can be used to help identify a patient’s readiness to quit smoking and guide appropriate counseling.
  4. Outline nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic tools and therapies that have proven useful in helping patients quit smoking.
  5. List states that have passed laws and regulations that allow pharmacists to prescribe nicotine replacement products.
To obtain credit:

To complete the program and receive CPE credit, view all lesson content and complete the learning assessment by submitting answers online. A minimum test score of 70% is needed to obtain credit. After successfully completing the learning assessment, participants must complete a program evaluation and claim the available CPE credit. Participants also must verify personal information required by CPE monitor and/or CE Broker (for Florida license holders) prior to submitting CPE credit claims. Official statements of credit are available only through CPE Monitor located at

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Drug Store News is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. This CPE activity is approved for pharmacists and is worth 2.0 contact hours (0.2 CEUs). The activity is available for CE credit through June 30, 2020.

Course summary
Credit hours: 
  • 2.00 Pharmacist
Course opens: 
Course format: 
Written Lesson
Course expires: 

Marsha K. Millonig, BPharm, MBA, president and CEO, Catalyst Enterprises, and associate fellow, University of MN College of Pharmacy Center for Leading Healthcare Change

Marsha Millonig and the DSN editorial and continuing education staff do not have any actual or potential conflicts of interest in relation to this lesson.

Available Credit

  • 2.00 Pharmacist

Accreditation Period

Course opens: 
Course expires: 


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