Very Brief Advice (VBA) training

Very brief advice (VBA) can be carried out by anyone.  It can take as little as 30 seconds and is known to be powerful when carried out by a health professional.  Asking about smoking and being able to signpost a smoker to a local Stop Smoking Service is recommended for all who come into contact with smokers through their work.

e-learning training resource – You can access an e-learning online module available from NCSCT here.

health professional sat at desk with patient

Here are some reasons to offer brief advice:

  • Every contact with a patient or client is an opportunity to provide advice on quitting. Offering brief advice to stop smoking is the single most cost-effective and clinically proven preventative action a healthcare professional can take.[1]
  • Smokers may take several times to quit smoking successfully, so it’s important to keep giving advice at every opportunity.[2]
  • Smokers are up to four times more likely to quit smoking successfully with support from local Stop Smoking Services.[3]
  • Over 60% of smokers want to quit.
  • Patients will not resent being asked whether they smoke or not – they expect to be asked by their health professional.

[1] Anczak J, Nogler R. Tobacco cessation in primary care: maximizing intervention strategies. Clinical Medicine & Research 2003;1(3): 201–216.

[2] Fu S, Partin M, Snyder A et al. Promoting repeat tobacco dependence treatment: are relapsed smokers interested? American Journal of Managed Care 2006;12: 235–43.

[3] West R, McNeill A, Raw M. Smoking cessation guidelines for health professionals: an update. Thorax 2000; 55(12): 987–99.

There are a number of training options available depending on your setting and role:

GP setting

All settings