'Smoke gets in your eyes': a research-informed professional education and advocacy programme

Thornton, J; Edwards, R; Harrison, RA; Elton, P; Astbury, N; Kelly, SP; (2007) 'Smoke gets in your eyes': a research-informed professional education and advocacy programme. Journal of public health (Oxford, England), 29 (2). pp. 142-146. ISSN 1741-3842 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdm019

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Smoking is associated with common sight-threatening eye conditions. We suspected that this link was little known and it might be a potent novel health promotional tool. We therefore developed a programme ultimately aiming to reduce the burden of eye disease attributable to smoking. The programme aims were to (1) raise awareness of the link between smoking and eye disease and advocate changes in relevant policies and (2) investigate and promote change in professional practice so that smokers are identified and routinely offered smoking cessation advice/support in eyecare settings. An inter-professional team developed a programme of research and education targeting policy-makers, healthcare professionals, the public and patients. We reviewed evidence about the causal link between smoking and eye disease, researched current awareness of the link, researched current practice of eyecare health professionals, produced health education materials and campaigned for policy changes. The series of projects was completed successfully, achieving media coverage, confirming the causal link between smoking and eye disease and demonstrating low awareness of this association. Healthcare leaders and policy-makers were engaged in our programme resulting in commitment, in principle, from the UK's Chief Medical Officer and the European Commission to consider including warning labels related to blindness on cigarette packets.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Clinical Research
Research Centre: The International Centre for Evidence in Disability
International Centre for Eye Health
PubMed ID: 17495989
Web of Science ID: 247474600008
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/9467


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