BACKGROUND: Although Australia is a world leader in tobacco control, smoking remains the behavioural risk factor making the largest contribution to death and disease. Smoking rates remain high in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and in people with mental health problems. Priority groups for cessation include women who are pregnant and people with cardiovascular disease.
OBJECTIVE: This article, based on the recently published second edition of Supporting smoking cessation: A guide for health professionals, provides an update on current evidence-based practice to support quitting. A brief, time-efficient intervention approach (Ask, Advise, Help) is proposed. New approaches to the use of pharmacotherapy are covered, as is the controversial role of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and advice for groups with high smoking prevalence and those with special needs.
DISCUSSION: A combination of behavioural support along with pharmacotherapy to treat nicotine dependence maximises the chances of successful long-term cessation. Combination nicotine replacement therapy (patch and short-acting oral form) or varenicline are the most effective forms of pharmacotherapy.