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What Nurses Should Know About Smoking Cessation and Seasonality

Did you know that contrary to popular belief, cigarette sales in the U.S.peak during the summer months? While there have only been a few studies focusing on the influence of seasonality on smoking behavior, research suggests that there are “several factors contributing to the effect of seasonality on cigarette consumption” including weather conditions, summer vacation, timing of cessation efforts, and smoking restriction laws. Taking all these factors into consideration, it’s easy to speculate why, in fact, the summer months typically generate the highest in overall tobacco sales.

According to findings obtained by the Tobacco Surveillance and Evolution Research Program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s School of Public Health, seasonality significantly influences tobacco sales during certain times of the year.  June is the month with the highest cigarette sales and February has the lowest.  Summer cigarette sales indicate an overall increase in smoking consumption between the months of June-August.

As nurses, we know that timing is everything when it comes to helping our patients get motivated to make healthy lifestyle changes.  In addition to a person’s readiness to change, it’s important to consider how other factors including seasonality can affect a person’s smoking behavior.

Knowing the relationship between the time of year and smoking behavior will help you develop smoking cessation initiatives that will maximize your patient’s chance for success.  While the summer may be a particularly challenging time to reach long-term smoking cessation goals, it is always important to start the conversation and offer your support and encouragement.

Take into consideration the individual’s stage of change and follow evidence-based strategies.  By using the 5 A intervention model (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange), you can increase the likelihood of successful long-term smoking cessation.

Quitting a bad habit is never easy.  As nurses we can assess a patient’s stage of change and evaluate external factors such as seasonality that will affect the probability of quitting smoking.  By providing non-judgmental advice and encouragement, we can help make the challenge of quitting smoking easier to overcome.

For more information on stages of change, motivational interviewing and the 5 A intervention model, watch Dennis Mahoney’s nursing CE webinar “Smoking Cessation: Assessment & Plan Development.”  Upon completion of the program, you will receive your nursing CE certificate for one contact hour.  No post-test is required.