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Every patient deserves access to quitting support

As a respected source of information, you’re well placed to ask every patient about their smoking, regardless of the complexities of their care. This includes those undergoing cancer treatments and surgery, as well as people receiving treatment for a mental illness, and experiencing drug dependence.

Research suggests brief interventions (including opportunistic advice, encouragement and referral) from health professionals often leads to patients taking action, with quitting strategies that combine behavioural support and pharmacotherapy, being significantly more successful.

Refer a patient to Quitline

Within the time constraints of a busy practice, it can be helpful to provide smoking cessation support by referring patients to Quitline.

Refer patients online or use the Quitline referral form.

You can download* and import the Quitline digital referral template into Medical Director, Best Practice or Zedmed. *WARNING: do not open the digital referral template file (*.rtf) with word processing software before importing. Doing so damages the format and requires you to repeat the download procedure.

Download medical software referral template

Remember, Quitline doubles their chances of quitting successfully.

You can refer your patient and their family/friends to information on the website or order a range of brochures for them to read through in their own time.

How to address smoking with your patient

Evidence shows that brief smoking cessation interventions work. It can take as little as a few minutes and have life-changing consequences.

Start the Conversation was developed by Alfred Health, with the support of the Victorian Department of Health, and challenges health professionals to raise the topic of smoking with their patients. Real patients and clinicians share their experiences about the life-changing conversations that resulted in people quitting smoking.

How to deliver a brief intervention

There are many ways to deliver brief interventions and we appreciate that sometimes it feels like you just don’t have time.

The RACGP 5 As approach provides health professionals with an evidence-based framework for structuring smoking cessation by identifying all smokers and offering support to help them quit.

  1. Ask: “Do you smoke?”
  2. Advise: “The single most important thing you can do for your health is stop smoking.”
  3. Assess: “How do you feel about your smoking?”, “Are you ready to stop smoking now?”
  4. Assist: Will depend upon their readiness for change.
  5. Arrange: Affirm decision to quit, offer encouragement, refer to Quitline for ongoing support.


  • Delivery of the questions is key. It should never feel like lecturing or imparting judgement. Showing empathy and understanding is crucial to maintaining and strengthening trust.
  • Quit Victoria has developed a series of brief intervention videos for health professionals. These videos provide examples of some of the more common smoking cessation situations you might see in general practice and how best to handle them. Video running time is generally between one and three minutes.
  • Review the various NRT and pharmacotherapy options and tailor recommendations based on the smoker’s individual situation.
  • Refer patients to Quitline for further support.

Smoking cessation information

Resources to support your patient

Quitline has a range of resources available to clients and health professionals. These resources are provided free of charge to South Australian residents and organisations (except where indicated on the order form).

 Order resources  

Download posters