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Training and resources for community and social services

Smoking is one of the major contributors to social disadvantage in Australia. Compared to the general population, people accessing community and social services are more likely to smoke and find it more difficult to quit. Smoking increases financial stress and influences the cycle of poverty and disadvantage.

Staff working in community and social services are well placed to deliver smoking cessation brief advice to clients because they:

  • Work directly with people experiencing social and financial disadvantage

  • Have trusted relationships with clients

  • Are committed to improving clients' health and wellbeing

  • Are skilled and experienced in promoting positive behaviour change

  • Are devoted to the values of social justice, equity and fairness.

Brief advice: Ask, Advise, Help

A brief advice conversation with a client about smoking is fast, simple and effective.

Quit’s 3-step brief advice model focuses on identifying people who smoke and helping them access best practice tobacco dependence treatment: a combination of stop smoking medications and multi-session behavioural intervention through Quitline.

The brief advice model has three steps:

  • Ask all clients about smoking status and document this in their case file.

  • Advise clients who smoke to quit in a clear, non-confrontational and personalised way that focuses on the benefits of quitting, and advise of the best way to quit.

  • Help by offering a referral to Quitline (13 7848), and help clients to access stop smoking medications (such as nicotine replacement therapy).

Sandy McKiernan, Executive Manager of Specialist Community Services, St Vincent de Paul Society (WA), discusses the importance of addressing smoking with clients

Training for the community and social services workforce

In consultation with the community and social services sector, we have developed an online smoking cessation brief advice training package for the community and social services workforce.

Having brief advice conversations with clients about their smoking is fast, simple and effective.

This training will give you the skills to have brief advice conversations, increase your knowledge of best practice smoking cessation care and outline the services and resources available to support clients to make a quit attempt.

Duration: Approximately 1 hour


Training is free for VIC, SA and WA learners

A registration fee of $20 applies for other states and territories

Learning objectives:

  • Understand who is smoking and which priority populations have higher rates of smoking

  • Understand the negative impacts of smoking on health outcomes

  • Understand the relationship between smoking and social disadvantage

  • Know how to provide fast, simple and effective brief advice in a supportive, non-judgemental manner

  • Understand the important role of multi-session behavioural intervention (such as Quitline) and how to refer

  • Understand the different smoking cessation pharmacotherapy options available

  • Know what additional resources are available to help you support clients who smoke.

Certification: Printable certificate

Referring clients to Quitline

Quitline 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. By referring clients to Quitline you are helping them access free support and increasing the chance that they will be able to make a successful quit attempt.

There are two ways to refer clients to Quitline:

Dr Cathy Segan, Quit’s Behavioural Scientist, describes how the Quitline works


Quit have worked with stakeholders and consumers to develop a range of resources. You can order these through the Quit resource order form.

For staff

How to put the ‘Ask, Advise, Help’ brief advice model into practice

For clients

Use the Stress Cycle of Smoking poster as a discussion tool with clients.

The Benefits of Quitting poster and postcard are great resources to promote clients to seek help and advice.

The 4Ds appointment card has space to write three appointment times on one side and tips for managing cravings on the other.

The Quit for Cash adult and youth postcards and poster help people see how much they could save and are great to use as a motivational tool.

Use this brochure and poster to support clients when using different forms of nicotine replacement therapy.

Complete the personalised stop smoking plan with clients.  

My Quit Plan brochure and What I Can Do to Stop Smoking wallet card can be used to help clients stay on track.

The What I Can Do to Stop Smoking brochure provides tips and strategies for clients to start planning their quit journey.

Tobacco in Australia: Facts & Issues

Tobacco in Australia: Facts & Issues is a comprehensive review of the major issues in smoking and health in Australia, compiled by Cancer Council Victoria.

Making smoking cessation brief advice part of routine practice

The AAH model can be used by staff working in community and social services in their everyday interactions with clients. It can also be used to guide organisation-wide systems change. The goal is to systematically embed smoking cessation care into routine practice. Read more.

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