The 5 As

We have developed a series of treatment algorithms for quick navigation through the 5As counseling method, detailing approximate length of time to complete each step. Select to view the appropriate treatment algorithm for your patient:

Assist your patients to quit

Assisting patients to quit can take as little as three minutes. For the patient willing to make a quit attempt, use counseling and pharmacotherapy to help him or her quit. Use the fax referral form to connect patients with personalized quit coaching from QuitlineNC: Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Together with the patient, develop a STAR quit plan:

  • Set a quit date -- ideally, the quit date should be within two weeks.
  • Tell family, friends, and co-workers about quitting and request understanding and support.
  • Anticipate challenges to planned quit attempt, particularly during the critical first few weeks. These include nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
  • Remove tobacco products from the environment. Prior to quitting, avoid smoking in places where you spend a lot of time (e.g., work, home, car).

Provide practical counseling:

  • Total abstinence is essential. "Not even a single puff after the quit date."
  • Anticipate triggers or challenges in upcoming attempt. Discuss challenges/triggers and how the patient will successfully overcome them.
  • Since alcohol can cause relapse, the patient should consider limiting/abstaining from alcohol while quitting.
  • Quitting is more difficult when someone else in the household is smoking. Patients should encourage housemates to quit with them or not smoke in their presence.

Assisting Patients Not Ready to Quit

 The "5Rs," Relevance, Risks, Rewards, Roadblocks, and Repetition, are designed to motivate tobacco users who are unwilling to quit at this time. There are several reasons why tobacco users may be unwilling to quit: misinformation, concern about the effects of quitting, or demoralization because of previous unsuccessful quit attempts. Therefore, after asking about tobacco use, advising the tobacco user to quit, and assessing the willingness to quit, it is important to provide the "5Rs" motivational intervention.

 Tools to help ASSIST patients quit tobacco use