Gaining motivation and supporting patients to quit smoking

Champix Prescribing Information

2/3 of smokers want to quit2.  A healthcare professional adopting these tools can help them do so successfully.

Very Brief Advice (VBA):
Can help a smoker gain the motivation needed to begin their quit attempt. 

Brief Support and Treatment (BST)
Outlines a support and prescribing process that can help a smoker quit successfully.

Listen to Dr. Alex Bobak* discuss VBA:

Listen to Dr. Bobak discuss BST:

1. ASK- Establish their smoking status:
The consultation is the natural time to ask your patients about their smoking status.  Once you have established that they do smoke, questions such as  “Are you aware of the benefits to your health of quitting?” can determine their likely attitudes to quitting.

2. ADVISE3 : Offer help that can increase their chances of quitting:
Tell your patients that the most successful way to quit is with professional support.4. “It can be very difficult to quit on your own, but we now know that specialist support and medication makes it up to 4 times more likely for you to stop, compared to using willpower alone.” 1

3. ACT3 : Give your patients the tools to quit smoking for good:
Help your patient to start their quit attempt: 'I can prescribe a treatment for you now to give you the best chance of becoming nicotine free'.

1. A pre-quit appointment:
A positive and encouraging first step.  Check addiction and motivation levels, agree a quit date, prescribe the first two weeks of treatment and agree on follow-up appointments.

2. A quit date appointment:
A good time to check treatment, discuss any withdrawal symptoms, identify triggers and how to manage. Share support contacts and address any upcoming high-risk situations. 

3. Follow-up appointments:
Congratulate progress, discuss on-going treatment and advise on avoiding relapse.  Arrange the next appointment and encourage follow-up.

4. The final visit:
Hopefully this is when to congratulate a successful quit. Discuss relapse prevention, risk factors and coping strategies.  Emphasise the 'door is always open' for you to help again if required.




*Dr Alex Bobak, Senior GP Partner and GPSI in Smoking Cessation, Wandsworth Medical Centre, London: Dr Alex Bobak is senior partner of a General Practice in Wandsworth, South London. He has been running specialist smoking cessation clinics as a GP for more than 10 years and is the first GP with Special Interests (GPSI) in Smoking Cessation in the country. He has carried out research into pharmacological treatment in smoking cessation and is particularly interested in effective ways to deliver brief advice to smokers.  Dr Bobak is a regular speaker on smoking cessation at meetings throughout the UK and abroad and believes that helping smokers to quit is the most important part of Primary Care. He is on the faculty of The Global Healthcare Alliance for Treatment of Tobacco Dependence.


PP-CHM-GBR-3541.  October 2020
1. West, R. (2012) Stop smoking services: increased chances of quitting. NCSCT Briefing #8. London; National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training.
2. West R, Fidler J. (2011) Smoking and Smoking Cessation in England 2010. Available from [Accessed October 2020].
3. National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training: Accessed March 2020
4. CHAMPIX Summary of Product Characteristics. Available at: