This article reviews the main methods of dissemination of interventions to doctors for the benefit of patients who are smokers and excessive drinkers. Firstly, the modes of delivery of interventions are discussed suck as: postal delivery, face-to-face strategies such as an educational facilitator, courier, training workshops, reinforcement contact after training, and teaching in medical school. Secondly, vie examine GPs' delivery of interventions working in association with others such as with: the health visitor, health facilitator, practice nurse, and specialist clinic. Thirdly, we discuss the debate about the public health impact of GP interventions for smokers, which is about rates of recruitment of patients to programs and about the most effective interventions that will continue to be used by GPs. Fourthly, doctors underutilize their opportunities to identify and intervene with smokers and excessive drinkers and we explore many of the barriers to intervention. Finally, there are several new initiatives in general practice that require research including: matching GPs to specific treatments, comparing the uptake and continued use of different levels of interventions, evaluating the most effective ways of delivering interventions to GPs, and the training of doctors in the intervention methods.