Safeway Pharmacists Implement UCSF Smoking-Cessation Program


Pharmacists will use an abbreviated version of Rx for Change to help their patients quit smoking.

Pharmacists will use an abbreviated version of Rx for Change to help their patients quit smoking.

Safeway is teaming up with the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Pharmacy to help customers quit smoking. Using training and tools developed at UCSF, 20 Safeway pharmacies in California will implement a smoking cessation program focused on pharmacist interaction and intervention with customers.

Safeway pharmacists will be specially trained using Rx for Change, a program developed by the UCSF School of Pharmacy. Rx for Change is designed to educate health care professionals on smoking cessation techniques and approaches and is based on the US Public Health Service’s Clinical Practice Guideline for Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence. The full training takes 12 hours and includes slideshows, lectures, videos, case studies, and role-playing exercises.

Safeway pharmacists will be using an abbreviated version called “Ask, Advise, Refer.” Using this model, pharmacists will routinely ask customers if they smoke when filling prescriptions. Pharmacists will advise smokers to quit, offer them information on medications, and refer them to the California Smokers’ Helpline. Pharmacists will also answer customer questions and help customers find non-prescription therapies within the store.

The partnership aims to equip community pharmacists, who are readily available to the public, with the knowledge and specialized training of the UCSF School of Pharmacy to help foster patient-centered care.

“Pharmacists are often the most accessible health care provider for patients within their own communities, but we haven’t maximized their expertise in that setting,” said B. Joseph Guglielmo, Jr., PharmD, interim dean of the UCSF School of Pharmacy, in a press release. “This project offers Safeway customers the full patient-care skill set of pharmacists with a goal of helping customers prevent and manage their chronic medical conditions.”

The program will be initially launched in 20 pharmacy locations in Northern and Southern California and will be expanded throughout the year to hundreds of Safeway pharmacies across the country, making it the first systematic smoking intervention applied through a network of pharmacies. To measure the success of the program, UCSF researchers will conduct a 3-month study to assess the effectiveness of the approach and the impact specially trained pharmacists can have on smoking cessation.

Safeway hopes that the partnership will help their customers to live healthier lives while offering them continued patient-centered care.

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