Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Health systems and professionals

WHO recommended strategies for strengthening health systems

A more systematic approach to engaging health professionals in tobacco control is also needed, starting with training. It is also necessary to build countries' capacity to strengthen primary health-care systems to make brief tobacco interventions available through primary health-care services. The following summarizes WHO recommended strategies for strengthening health systems:

  • identify models to integrate brief tobacco interventions into the existing primary health-care programme,
  • support health professionals to quit tobacco use,
  • develop training materials on strengthening primary health-care systems for treating tobacco dependence and facilitate training workshops at country level.

Studies show that even brief advice from health professionals can increase tobacco abstinence rates up to 30%. Interventions for smoking cessation led by nurses have shown to increase the chance of successfully quitting smoking by up to 50%. There also needs to be a systematic approach for incorporating brief tobacco interventions (the "5 A's" and "5 R's") into primary health-care services.

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