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Very Brief Advice for Tobacco Dependency

What is VBA?

Read time: 15 mins
Very Brief Advice (VBA) on Smoking is part of the work of the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT) and is funded by the Department of Health in the UK. It is a simple piece of advice that is designed to be used opportunistically in under 30 seconds in almost any situation with a smoker.


What may surprise you is that Very Brief Advice does not advise smokers to stop, or recommend that you ask how much they smoke or even if they want to stop.

It is designed as a trigger and works at any point during a consultation about any other health matter. There are three elements to Very Brief Advice1:

  • establishing and recording smoking status (ask)
  • advising on how to stop (advise)
  • offering help (ACT)
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Sources of help for delivering VBA

What resources are available to help HCPs give Very Brief Advice? In addition to the patient case-based video scenarios in this Learning Zone, explore the IPCRG Very Brief Advice desktop helper, the NCSCT Very Brief Advice training module and the PCRS tobacco dependency pragmatic guide.

Medthority/IPCRG VBA for tobacco dependence Learning Zone

Visit the Delivering effective Very Brief Advice section of this Learning Zone to view physician-patient scenarios demonstrating how Very Brief Advice can be used in different patient types.

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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.