General practitioners and primary care nurses are a respected source of health information. They are well placed to deliver smoking cessation brief advice to patients. 1 in 33 conversations with a health professional will result in a person quitting smoking.
Quitting smoking is the best thing a person can do for their health. While that’s not new, this might be: a brief advice conversation with a patient about their smoking is quick and effective.
In conjunction with health professionals, we have developed a 3-step brief advice model: Ask, Advise, Help. It focuses on identifying smokers and helping them to access best-practice care – a combination of pharmacotherapy and multi-session behavioural intervention through Quitline.
- Ask all patients about smoking status and document this in their medical record.
- Advise patients who smoke about the best way to quit and why this is important.
- Help by offering referral to behavioural intervention through Quitline (13 7848), and help patients to access smoking cessation pharmacotherapy such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
Find links below to our online training for GPs and nurses and to other resources to help you support your patients to quit.
Dr Paul Brougham, a GP in
Victoria’s Latrobe Valley and Quit advisor, discusses the importance of
addressing smoking in the video below.
Training for general practitioners and nurses
Quit has developed two online training courses:
advice training, accredited by the RACGP for Category 2 points
Do, Study, Act cycle, accredited by the RACGP for Category 1 points
You can register for and access this training here.
Referring your patients to Quitline
Quitline is a confidential, evidenced-based telephone counselling service. Highly-trained Quitline specialists use behaviour change techniques and motivational interviewing over multiple calls to help people plan, make and sustain a quit attempt.
Watch Dr Cathy Segan, Quit’s Behavioural Scientist, describe how the Quitline works below.
There are three ways to refer your patients to Quitline:
- Use the Quitline fax referral sheet
- Refer patients online
- Send Quitline
referral letters from your general practice software. (If you use Best Practice
or Medical Director, these referral letters should already be on your system.
Instructions to manually upload referral letters onto other software or older
versions of software can be found here).
We have worked with health professionals and
consumers to develop a range of resources to help you help your patients
stop smoking. You can order these through the Quit resource order form.
For general practitioners and nurses
- A quick reference guide outlining how to support patients to stop smoking.
- Ask, Advise, Help chart describing the steps of brief advice conversations about smoking.
- A table outlining drug interactions with smoking, detailing the impact of smoking cessation on drug dosages.
- Waiting room resources, such as the “Did you know your doctor can help you quit smoking?” poster.
- The short video below
demonstrates how to put the Ask, Advice, Help brief advice model into practice.
For your patients
- Fact sheets on tobacco use and quitting.
- Stress cycle of smoking poster that you could place in your waiting room.
- Benefits of quitting poster.
- Appointment cards which have space to write three appointment times on one side and tips for managing cravings on the other.
- Motivational tools – Quit for cash postcard helps people see how much they could save. There is also a youth version.
- Information to support nicotine replacement therapy use.
Embedding smoking cessation care
Not only can the AAH model be used by individual health professionals in their everyday interactions with patients, it can also be used to guide change. The goal is to systematically embed smoking cessation care into routine practice.
Tobacco in Australia: Facts and Issues is a comprehensive review of the major issues in smoking and health in Australia, compiled by Cancer Council Victoria.
How can you help your patient: resources and training
Nursing and allied health professionals have a vital role in promoting smoking cessation. A brief intervention provided by a health professional can trigger a quit attempt.
How to help your patient quit – 3-step intervention model
Smoking is the leading cause of death and disease in Australia. Health professionals play a powerful role in encouraging and helping patients to stop smoking.