PRESENCE – Increasing the Role of Pharmacists in Smoking Cessation in Romania: Preparation and Perceptions of Community Pharmacists (2017)

Romania has one of the highest smoking rates in Europe, particularly among youth and pregnant women. Studies show that assistance from healthcare providers, by behavioral modification and drug therapy, is one of the best methods to increase a smokers’ chance of quitting. Professional assistance can offer significant, rapid personal and societal benefits, including reduction in the incidence of tobacco related diseases and lowered mortality.

The project aims to investigate current smoking cessation practices of pharmacists employed by three community pharmacy chains in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The accessibility of Romanian pharmacists in the community positions these pharmacists well to facilitate this public health services, but they do not normally do so. Expanding Romanian pharmacists’ responsibilities beyond dispensing tasks and counseling patients in a community setting is difficult. The proposed research will contribute to ongoing conversation about increasing pharmacists’ roles. It will foster recognition of the potential of pharmacists’ involvement in direct patient care and the resulting positive impact on a healthcare system. It also will give insight into pharmacy education in Romania, and how it prepares future and current pharmacists to take on these roles. With additional support from pharmacists, patients would have access to more resources and be guided toward a smoke-free life.

The specific objectives of the project are:

  1. Gain a comprehensive understanding of the smoking culture in Romania, and current smoking cessation interventions available to Romanians.
  2. Carry out a formative assessment of community pharmacists to identify existing gaps in providing smoking cessation education and interventions to Romanians.
  3. Create a comprehensive toolkit targeted at Romanian community pharmacists that is comprised of evidence-based resources, best-practices in smoking cessation, and advanced models that can be duplicated.

Principle Investigator: Jasmine Mangrum, BA, PharmD(c), MPH(c)

Co-Principle Investigator: Oana Maria Blaga, PhD(c)

Coordinator: University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, Iowa

Partner: Cluj School of Public Health, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Funder: Global Public Health Student Travel Grant

Total budget: 5800 Euro