Pharmacists are a respected source of health information. They are well placed in the community to provide best practice smoking cessation care to people who smoke.
Research has shown advice from a health professional is a major external trigger in prompting a person who smokes to make a quit attempt, and a brief advice conversation with a patient about their smoking can be fast, simple and effective.
Brief advice: Ask, Advise, Help
with health professionals, we have developed a 3-step brief advice model, Ask,
Advise, Help which is described in the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia 'Guidelines for pharmacists providing smoking cessation support'.
The model focuses on identifying patients who smoke and connecting them to evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment: multi-session behavioural intervention through Quitline (13 7848) and approved pharmacotherapy, if clinically appropriate:
- Ask all patients about smoking status and document this in their medical record or file.
- Advise all patients who smoke to quit in a clear, non-confrontational and personalised way, and advise of the best way to quit.
- Help by offering all patients who smoke an opt-out referral for behavioural intervention through Quitline (13 7848), and by offering approved pharmacotherapy, such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
Find links below to our online training for pharmacists and links to resources for you, your pharmacy and your patients.
Online training: Smoking cessation support in pharmacy
In partnership with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), we have developed an online smoking cessation brief advice training package for pharmacists.
Module 1 - Smoking Cessation Brief Advice Training for Pharmacists
The ‘Smoking Cessation Brief Advice Training for Pharmacists’ is designed to support smoking cessation care in pharmacy. It will equip pharmacists with the skills, confidence and knowledge to provide smoking cessation brief advice to patients who smoke.
This activity has been accredited by the PSA for 1.5 hours of Group 1 CPD (or 1.5 CPD credits) suitable for inclusion in an individual pharmacist’s CPD plan, which can be converted to 1.5 hours of Group 2 CPD (or 3 CPD credits) upon successful completion of relevant assessment activities.
Duration: 90 minutes
- Describe evidence-based smoking cessation care.
- Explain the pharmacist’s role in smoking cessation, including the importance of implementing the three-step smoking cessation brief advice (Ask, Advise, Help; AAH) model of care.
- Explain the important role of multi-sessional behavioural intervention for smoking cessation (e.g., through Quitline) and describe how to refer patients.
- Explain how to assess nicotine dependence and recognise the signs of nicotine withdrawal.
- Describe the different pharmacotherapy options including clinical considerations and practice points.
- Identify and manage clinically significant drug interactions associated with stopping smoking.
Certificate: Printable certificate
Module 2 – Nicotine Vaping Products
The ‘Nicotine Vaping Products’ module will provide guidance to pharmacists on unapproved nicotine vaping products, including the relevant legal requirements, current evidence, the process for ordering and dispensing and key considerations for counselling patients on nicotine vaping products.
This activity has been accredited by the PSA for 1.0 hour of Group 1 CPD (or 1 CPD credit) suitable for inclusion in an individual pharmacist’s CPD plan, which can be converted to 1.0 hour of Group 2 CPD (or 2 CPD credits) upon successful completion of relevant assessment activities.
Duration: 60 minutes
- Discuss the legal framework for accessing nicotine vaping products in Australia.
- Describe the nicotine vaping products’ mechanism and vaping devices.
- Discuss the evidence for nicotine vaping products.
- Describe the process of ordering and dispensing nicotine vaping products.
- Identify the key considerations for counselling patients on the use of nicotine vaping product.
Certificate: Printable certificate
Other brief advice training courses
Quit offers brief advice courses for a range of health areas, including the 'Supporting pregnant women to stop smoking’ course, which is endorsed by the Australian College of Midwives, and takes approximately 60 mins.
See Online Training for the full range of settings and courses available.
Referring your patients to Quitline
Quitline (13 7848) is a confidential, evidenced-based telephone counselling service. Highly-trained Quitline counsellors use behaviour change techniques and motivational interviewing over multiple calls to help people plan, make and sustain a quit attempt. A translation service is available for people who speak a language other than English.
There are two ways to refer your patients to Quitline:
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.
Resources for you
- A quick reference guide outlining how to support patients to stop smoking.
- A table outlining drug interactions with smoking, detailing the impact of smoking cessation on drug dosages.
Resources for your patients
- Your Stop Smoking Plan card which can be completed by you and given to patients as a reminder.
- A 4 D's wallet card with tips for managing cravings on one side and how to get help to stop smoking on the other.
- Videos describing how to use the different formulations of NRT: nicotine patch, gum, mouth spray, lozenge and inhalator.
- Motivational tools – Quit for cash postcard helps people see how much they could save. There is also a youth version.
- Self help material – Quit Because You Can booklet and What I can do to stop smoking wallet card (also available in Simplified Chinese).
Tobacco in Australia: Facts & Issues
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.
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. Read more.
How to embed smoking cessation care into your organisation
An organisation-wide approach is needed to embed the Ask, Advise, Help (AAH) smoking cessation brief advice model into routine practice. The AAH model outlines how to deliver best practice smoking cessation care and can apply to all health, social service and community settings.
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.