Tobacco smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Australia.
Health services play a crucial role in caring for patients who smoke, and staff working in health services are well placed to deliver smoking cessation brief advice. Brief advice from a health professional is a major external trigger in prompting someone who smokes to attempt to quit.
Brief advice: Ask, Advise, Help
Stopping smoking is the best thing a person can do for their health. The 3-step brief advice model focuses on identifying people who smoke and helping them to access best practice tobacco dependence treatment: a combination of pharmacotherapy and multi-session behavioural intervention through Quitline (13 7848).
The brief advice model has three steps:
Ask all patients about smoking status and document this in their medical record.
Advise all patients who smoke to quit in a clear, non-confrontational and personalised way, focusing on the benefits of quitting and advising of the best way to quit.
Help by offering referral to behavioural intervention through Quitline (13 7848) and prescribe (or help patients to access) pharmacotherapy, such as nicotine replacement therapy.
Dr Rudi Gasser, occupational health physician and Coordinator of the Victorian Network of Smokefree Healthcare Services, discusses the importance of addressing smoking with patients.
The video below demonstrates how to put brief advice into practice.
Tools and resources to embed smoking cessation brief advice into routine practice
The AAH model can be used by health service staff in their everyday interactions with patients. It can also be used to guide organisation-wide systems change, to embed smoking cessation care into routine practice in the health service setting and to support smokefree health services. Read more here
To support health services to do this, Quit and Alfred Health, in partnership with four health services (Northeast Health Wangaratta, Northwestern Mental Health, Seymour Health and Western District Health Service), have developed an evidence-based smokefree policy and guideline, and clinical guideline and clinical pathway templates that health services can contextualise, as required.
Please note, these templates have been designed for use within health services, subject to their own internal approval and clinical governance processes.
Online training for health service staff
Quit and Alfred Health, in partnership with health services, has developed online smoking cessation brief advice training for staff working in health service settings. The training aims to equip staff with the skills, confidence and knowledge to provide smoking cessation brief advice to patients.
Duration: Approximately 30 mins
Training is free for VIC, SA and WA learners
A registration fee of $20 applies for other states and territories
Understand who is smoking and which priority populations have higher rates of smoking
Understand the negative impact of smoking on medical outcomes
Know how to provide fast, simple and effective brief advice in a supportive, non-judgmental manner
Recognise the importance of managing nicotine withdrawal in the inpatient setting
Understand the important role of multi-session behavioural intervention (such as Quitline) and how to refer
Know what additional resources and support are available to help your patients who smoke
Certification: Printable certificate.Register for online training
Referring your patients to Quitline (13 7848)
Quitline is a confidential, evidenced-based telephone counselling service. Qualified Quitline counsellors use behaviour change techniques and motivational interviewing over multiple calls to help people plan, make and sustain a quit attempt.
There are two ways to refer patients to Quitline:
Quitline fax referral sheet
Online referral form.
Resources for health services and patients
Quit has developed a range of resources for staff and patients, which you can download or order through the Quit resource order form
Ask, Advise, Help chart describing the three steps of brief advice as relevant to the health service setting
A table outlining drug interactions with smoking, detailing the impact of smoking cessation on drug dosages
Posters for waiting areas or clinic rooms
4D's appointment and wallet cards for clients
'My quit plan' brochure for clients, and more.
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.
For any queries or further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated January 2023.