Original Article

Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 59-70

First online:

Identifying Evidence-Based Competences Required to Deliver Behavioural Support for Smoking Cessation

  • Susan MichieAffiliated withNHS Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT), University College London Email author 
  • , Sue ChurchillAffiliated withNHS Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT), University College London
  • , Robert WestAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology and Public Health and NHS Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT), University College London

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No systematic basis has yet been published for specifying competences needed to underpin behavioural support for smoking cessation.


The purpose of this study was to develop and apply a system for identifying competences required for the delivery of individual and group-based behavioural support for smoking cessation.


Sets of recommended competences for behavioural support were identified from a range of guidance documents. Where possible, these were compared with ones based on behaviour change techniques identified within behavioural support programmes found to be effective in randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and, for individual behavioural support, ones associated with higher success rates in the English Stop Smoking Services.


Ninety-four competences were identified (71 individual and 23 additional group competences), of which 59 were cited in at least two guidance documents (51 and 8, respectively). Fourteen of the individual competences and three of the group competences were supported by RCT evidence and, for individual competences, nine were supported by evidence from the services.


It is possible to identify competences recommended for behavioural support for smoking cessation and subsets supported by different types of evidence. This approach can form the basis for the development of assessment and training of stop smoking practitioners and is currently doing so in a national programme in England. With further research, the list of evidence-based competences is likely to be extended.


Smoking cessation Behavioural support Competences Stop smoking practitioner