RHA’s Counsel to Quit Program Takes New Approach to Help People Quit Smoking

Research shows that just 3-10 minutes of counseling from a healthcare provider can increase an individual’s success in quitting smoking by 60%. Unfortunately, smokers often don’t receive counseling when they meet with their doctor, nurse, mental health counselor or other provider. Whether it’s because of time constraints, lack of knowledge about effective tobacco treatment or lack of confidence that counseling patients to quit smoking actually works, many providers do not speak with patients about their tobacco use. But the research is clear— quitting smoking is something providers should be talking about with every tobacco user at every visit.

To help address this issue, RHA developed the Counsel to Quit® brief tobacco intervention training. Counsel to Quit® is RHA’s 60- or 90-minute interactive training program designed to help providers have a conversation with their patients about quitting smoking.  The training is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “Ask, Advise, Refer” model, which teaches healthcare professionals to ask their patients if they smoke or use tobacco products, advise them to quit, and refer them to appropriate cessation treatment. Attendees learn to use motivational interviewing techniques to more effectively have a conversation with patients about their tobacco use and motivate them to take steps towards quitting.

Following the training, RHA continues to provide assistance to organizations to help them integrate tobacco use screening and referral processes across their practice. Ultimately, RHA hopes the Counsel to Quit® training will help facilitate system-wide changes in how each organization screens patients for tobacco use, refers them to resources and documents this information in the patient record.

Most recently, RHA offered the Counsel to Quit® training as a webinar for providers unable to attend in-person. Over 40 healthcare and social service providers from the Chicagoland region participated.

To date, RHA has offered Counsel to Quit® to over 1300 providers. Recent research shows that attending a training results in significant improvements in providers’ perceived value of cessation counseling, confidence and ability to discuss smoking cessation and knowledge on the role of electronic cigarettes in tobacco cessation among medical, mental health and other providers. We are proud of these achievements and look forward to continuing our collaborations with health and social service providers to address tobacco use in our communities.

If you would like to learn more about bringing Counsel to Quit® to your organization, contact Lainie Kast, Senior Program Manager at lkast@resphealth.org or 312-628-0241.