Knowledge acquisition for the design of clinical decision support systems can be facilitated when clinical practice guidelines serve as a knowledge source. We describe application of the Guideline Elements Model (GEM) in the design of a decision support system to promote smoking cessation. Following selection of relevant recommendations and markup of knowledge components with the GEM Cutter editor, the Extractor stylesheet was used to create a list of decision variables and actions for further processing. Decision variables and actions that reflect similar concepts were consolidated. Action types were identified. Extracting the critical concepts from the narrative text facilitates clarification of necessary content. The guideline-centric approach promotes accurate translation of guideline knowledge.