Better health and more money in the bank will be within closer reach for VACRO program participants after seven staff members who work directly with participants completed anti-smoking support training.

Quitting smoking is a priority health concern identified by many VACRO participants, which led facilitators from VACRO’s pre-release ReLink program and case managers from post-release ReConnect program to attend a live webinar from medical professional development institute In Vivo Academy. 

“I speak to my participants a fair bit about quitting smokes, and this training will actually help me explain methods so much better, for example when it comes to how to use patches,” said ReConnect case manager Glen Cooper.

“As someone who had smoked a pack a day since I was 14 years old and only quit just over two years ago, I wish I had seen this webinar beforehand. I used patches to help quit, but the methods in this video sounded so much better.”

Key points:

  • Seven VACRO staff members who work directly with program participants have received stopping smoking training from medical professionals at In Vivo Academy
  • The training will help staff provide better and more practical support to participants who want to quit
  • 85% of people entering prison are smokers, and nearly 50% of them want to quit

According to anti-smoking organisation Quit approximately 85 per cent of new entrants to prisons are smokers, and people generally continue to smoke once inside. But the organisation says nearly half the prison population is interested in quitting smoking.

“People prepare to leave prison with new hopes for themselves, and we support them to articulate specific and achievable goals across a range of areas, including health,” said ReLink program manager Vanessa Day.

“This training will help our team give specific, practical support, informed by the most current medical guidelines, to participants who aim to quit smoking on release.”

The training brought together a GP, nurse and pharmacist to share evidence-based insights and advice into how they help patients quit smoking.

After completing the training, VACRO staff can now explain changes in the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ smoking cessation recommendations; assess a participant’s needs; and offer advice, referral for treatment, and continued ongoing support on a participant’s pathway to quitting.

The training was funded by an educational grant from Pfizer Global Medical Grants.