referring to Offering smokers a ‘taster’ session on how to quit along with tailored risk information doubled the likelihood of their going on to attend NHS stop smoking services, a study has shown.
The tailored risk information was derived from the patient’s smoking habits and medical records, which was then used to predict their risk of developing serious illness relative to a non-smoker or ex-smoker of the same age.
As reported by Pulse last year, the number of smokers successfully quitting through stop smoking services has fallen for the last four years in a row, prompting concern that funding cuts to cessation services could cause this number to fall even further.
Just over 2,600 patients were sent a personalised letter including information about their individual risk, along with an invitation to attend an introductory session at a stop smoking service, while the remaining patients – around 1,750 – were sent the usual generic letter advertising the local stop smoking service.
The randomised trial, published this week in the Lancet , included over 4,000 smokers registered at 99 GP practices.
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Personalised risk information and taster sessions double chances of attending stop smoking course
NHS Stop smoking Services combine specialist support with prescribed medication, and are an effective way of helping people to stop smoking.
Offering smokers a taster session at an NHS Stop smoking Service and explaining their personal risk of developing smoking-related diseases doubles their likelihood of attending a stop smoking course, according to a study in The Lancet.
Of those who took up the offer and attended the taster session, and also subsequently attended the Stop smoking Service, 28.7% achieved 7-day abstinence.
It also included information about how much their risk would reduce if they quit smoking immediately.
Writing in a linked Comment, Dr K Michael Cummings, Medical University of South Carolina, USA, said:Most people who have smoked for any significant length of time would like to stop smoking.
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Effectiveness of personalized risk information and taster sessions to boost uptake of smoking cessation services
A randomized controlled trial conducted at 18 National Health Service Stop smoking Services (SSS) locations in England sought to boost declining utilization of the government-sponsored help program.
Based on the study results, investigators believe that uptake of quit-smoking services can be improved by taking a more proactive approach and by offering prospective participants an opportunity to get a feel for local services.
The 1,748 controls, meanwhile, received a boilerplate letter advertising the local SSS.
Specifically, researchers wondered if personalized outreach would impact attendance.
To investigate, they recorded response levels to two different kinds of communications.
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