According to the Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: Clinical Practice Guideline, 2008 Update, “busy clinical teams should make the treatment of tobacco use a priority based on the compelling evidence:
Asking and advising patients to quit are not just good patient care, but can actually double the chance a smokerwill make a quit attempt. According to the Clinical Practice Guideline, the gold standard for tobacco use interventionby health care providers is the “5 A’s” intervention: Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange.
Providers have not broadly implemented the 5 A’s due to a pervasive belief that they take too much time. Many clinician groups now promote a streamlined version of the intervention, such as “Ask-Advise-Refer”. The goal of the alternate approaches is to increase the likelihood of clinicians intervening by simplifying their task: they Ask and Advise, then hand the patient off to a quitline or other cessation service provider to Assess, Assist, and arrange. Such efforts have been successful both in changing health care provider behavior and in generating referrals for cessation treatment providers.
Behavioral health professionals are uniquely positioned to help their clients who smoke quit because they are often the clinician the client sees most, and who knows the client best. In addition, behavioral health professionals:
Behavioral health professionals are encouraged to talk with their patients and offer them assistance in quitting. Many of the treatment strategies that work for smokers without behavioral health issues (e.g., cessation pharmacotherapy and behavioral counseling) can work for this clientele as well.