Tobacco smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Australia. Health professionals play a crucial role and are well placed to deliver smoking cessation care to patients who smoke. Brief advice from a health professional is a major external trigger in prompting a patient 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 patients 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.
Essentials training for health professionals
Quit’s online Essentials training is appropriate for health professionals working in a range of settings. The training aims to equip health professionals with the skills, confidence and knowledge to support patients who smoke to quit.
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 impacts of smoking on health outcomes.
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 and how to refer.
Certification: Printable certificate
For health professionals working in mental health, there is an optional extended learning module (additional 30 mins duration).Register for online training
Referring your patients to Quitline
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.
Quit has developed a range of resources for health professionals and patients, which you can order through the Quit resource order form.
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.
Last updated: November 2021
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