The Learning Zone focusses on encouraging behaviour change through the use of Very Brief Advice (VBA), as well as covering pharmacological management, the health consequences of tobacco use, as well as the wider socioeconomic impacts of smoking.
VBA is intended to help you1:
- Assess current and past smoking behaviour
- Provide information on consequences of smoking and smoking cessation
- Provide options for later/additional support
- Advise on stop smoking medications
Why is Very Brief Advice different? - Dr Noel Baxter
As GPs we are well trained in how to get the best out of a consultation for the person seeing us. We use various behavioural change techniques such as goal setting, helping people to measure positive change and eliciting and building motivation for better health outcomes. What we then naturally want to do with tobacco addiction is apply these skills. However, this work takes time. As part of a Diabetes review we might plan to make time for this but tobacco action tends to be the last 30 seconds of a consultation that is about something else entirely - we don't do annual reviews for people on the tobacco dependency register - so we need an alternative.
That is Very Brief Advice; it doesn't set goals, explore readiness to quit or motivation to succeed. It's something different entirely and that is why we need to train for it. The good news is that the lesson is quick and the intervention is possible in that 30 seconds.
You gather information in an emotionally neutral way, you provide some information about what works and then you find out what they want to do. That’s it!
See our patient consultation videos
Examples of how a HCP might deliver effective effective Very Brief Advice during consultations with some typical types of tobacco smoker. These include patients using smoking to cope with stress, with comorbidities, relapsed smokers and those who aren’t yet ready to quit smoking.
Please note that in these scenario videos the patients and HCPs are actors.
Do you know how to incorporate Very Brief Advice on Smoking (VBA) seamlessly into your patient consultations? Knowing their medical history, using visual clues and listening carefully to what they say are all key. See effective Very Brief Advice in action in some typical patient populations who smoke.
Also in the Learning Zone
Stopping smoking is the single most important thing that smokers can do to improve their health. Health Care Professionals (HCPs) know this and most smokers do too, even if they are not always ready to address it. A quick question about their smoking status and an offer of help from HCPs to support patients who are ready to attempt to stop smoking can be far more effective than telling them to stop. Very Brief Advice on smoking Very Brief Adviceis a simple piece of advice that is designed to be used opportunistically in less than 30 seconds in almost any situation with a smoker2. This Learning Zone explains the principles of Very Brief Advice and demonstrates how it can be used in different smoker populations and summarises the effective evidence-based interventions that can be used subsequently when a patient is ready to attempt to quit following a successful Very Brief Advice. Throughout the LZ there are resources to help you implement Very Brief Advice and make sure you visit our expert opinion section where our specialists describe the language to use and how successful Very Brief Advice can be.
- National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT) https://www.ncsct.co.uk/publication_very-brief-advice.php
- Primary Care Respiratory Society. Tobacco dependency pragmatic guide. Available at: https://www.pcrs-uk.org/resource/tobacco-dependency-pragmatic-guide. Accessed 4 March 2020.
Developed by EPG Health for Medthority. This content has been developed in collaboration with the International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG).
EPG Health received educational funding from the sponsor, Pfizer, in order to help provide its healthcare professional members with access to the highest quality medical and scientific information, education and associated relevant content. Pfizer has had no editorial input into the content.