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Tobacco Cessation Counseling Doesn’t Have To Be Lengthy or Intimidating

Did you know that tobacco cessation counseling is a covered Medicare service?

Brief tobacco counseling provides substantial health benefits while producing cost savings.

Busy, practicing health care providers may not have time for lengthy counseling sessions on tobacco cessation. However, brief cessation advice, as short as three minutes, has been proven effective in helping users to quit.

The 5As (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange) summarize all the activities that a primary care provider can do to help a tobacco user in a primary care setting.

If time is limited, the 2As and R (Ask, Advise and Refer) can also be effective. In this intervention, the health provider can refer a tobacco user to a quit line, cessation specialist, or other resource for quit plan development.

A team approach is the best way to treat tobacco use and dependence. Integrating treatment into the routine clinical workflow and engaging the entire healthcare team in treatment delivery can make a difference.

For more information on these and other similar approaches, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention YouTube video Brief Tobacco Cessation Interventions.

Not sure what to document? Let us help by visiting our website to view our designated Tobacco Cessation Medicare Topic pages for helpful job aids on Tobacco Counseling Documentation.

Recommended Resources

  • Free telephone-based state tobacco quitlines: 1-800-QUIT-NOW
  • The National Cancer Institute’s website:
  • The National Cancer Institute’s text-messaging quit smoking program: SmokefreeTXT; Text QUIT to 47848
  • The Department of Health and Human Services website:
  • Appropriate community-based or local cessation resources (e.g., classes, support groups)

Providing cessation treatment is reimbursable and can help meet quality measures.

Posted 4/26/2023