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Smokes can lead to strokes: new partnership seeks to save lives

Posted 24 May, 2021

Quit and Stroke Foundation have partnered to offer training and resources for stroke clinicians to help people recovering from a stroke to stop smoking, reducing their risk of having another stroke.

The program aims to embed best practice smoking cessation care in hospitals and rehabilitation centres through several initiatives including the development of online training, resources and information webinars. The partnership will also highlight the importance of stopping smoking for people with stroke, through public education activities and tailored resources.

A recent survey of stroke clinicians by Quit and Stroke Foundation found while 95% of respondents agree it is part of their role to encourage patients to stop smoking, almost half rarely or never provide patients with smoking cessation advice. Only 40% agree they have the knowledge and skills to do so.

Quit Director Dr Sarah White said the education package will help stroke clinicians provide supportive information and advice about stopping smoking and show them how to offer practical assistance.

“The training and resources provide stroke clinicians in all settings with the knowledge and skills required to deliver a three-step brief advice model: Ask, Advise, Help. The model helps facilitate patient access to best practice tobacco dependence treatment: a combination of Quitline (13 7848) counselling and stop smoking medications where clinically appropriate,” she said.

“It’s a fast, simple and effective way to have a conversation about stopping smoking with patients. Ask, Advise, Help is easily integrated into a normal consultation,” said Dr White.

Stroke strikes the brain and can change lives in an instant. Smoking increases the risk of stroke by increasing blood pressure and reducing oxygen in the blood. Smoking also increases the stickiness of blood which can lead to blood clots forming.

Professor David Thomas from Stroke Foundation’s Health Promotion Advisory Subcommittee said the benefits of stopping smoking for people who have experienced stroke are profound in terms of stroke recovery, management and prevention of recurrent stroke.

“People who quit after a first stroke reduce their risk of recurrent stroke to only 1.3 times that of a non-smoker,” Professor Thomas said.

“I’d encourage all stroke clinicians to undertake the training,” said Professor Thomas.

“Treating health professionals are at the frontline and have an important role to play in supporting patients to stop smoking and in preventing further burden of disease from smoking.”

Visit to learn more about the online training and resources as well as the free webinar on Wednesday 9th June 2021.

To enquire about Quit's brief advice training and resources for stroke clinicians, please email

For more quitting advice, visit or call the Quitline on 13 7848 between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday. Quitline is a non-judgemental and culturally inclusive telephone service for all, including the LGBTIQ+ community. Aboriginal Quitline counsellors are also available.

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