Very Brief Advice

2/3 of smokers want to quit,2 very brief advice (VBA) from a GP can help them do so successfully.   Dr Alex Bobak* discusses the benefits of delivering Very Brief Advice to smokers
Follow the three simple steps below to put your patients on the path to quitting

1. ASK3 
Find out your patients' 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.

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 patient 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'.
ASK, ADVISE and ACT and put your patient on a path to quitting smoking.


*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-3270.  May 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 June 2017].
3. National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training: Accessed March 2020
4. CHAMPIX Summary of Product Characteristics.