New health professional resources will help people quit smoking and vaping

7 March 2022

Many Australians who smoke or vape would like to quit. Now more of them will be supported to successfully give up, thanks to a new virtual resource and training centre for primary health professionals.

The Quit Centre has been established, with funding from the Australian Government, as a national support service to ensure health professionals have up-to-date training and resources to provide information and advice. This includes referral to Quitline, all designed to support smoking and vaping cessation for their patients.

The Quit Centre is the first comprehensive, evidence-based centre for smoking and vaping cessation to be developed by and for health professionals in Australia.

Dr Sarah White, Head of Quit, says that delivery of brief cessation advice by health professionals is fast, simple, and effective.

“International research shows that brief advice from a treating health professional is effective in motivating people to make a quit attempt, with one in 33 conversations resulting in a patient successfully quitting,” she said.

“Smoking cessation at any time improves mental health and wellbeing, reduces the risk of non-communicable disease and can improve the effectiveness of treatments.”

The Quit Centre will develop and disseminate training and resources in partnership with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, and Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association. The training and resources are designed to enable primary health professionals to provide smoking and vaping cessation support as part of their routine care.

The accredited training for GPs and community pharmacists is free, easy to navigate and includes referral pathways to Quitline.

Evidence shows that a proactive referral to a specialist behaviour change service such as Quitline, rather than simply advising a patient to call, results in a 13-fold increase in the proportion of people using behavioural intervention in a quit attempt.

“With so many people who smoke or vape telling us that they want to stop, health professionals have a duty of care to their patients to help them,” says Dr White.

“The Quit Centre will be vital to upskilling health professionals who want their patients to achieve this very important goal.”

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