Phone Counseling May Help Smokers Quit
Getting 3 or More Calls From Counselors With Quit-Smoking Phone Lines Could Help
July 18, 2006 -- New research shows that most smokers want to quit smoking,
and that getting a little encouragement by phone might help them reach that
A new Gallup poll shows that a quarter of Americans aged 18 and older smoke
cigarettes; 75% of them say they want to quit smoking. The poll, conducted by
telephone in early July, included a nationally representative sample of about
1,000 adults aged 18 and older.
Three out of four smokers surveyed reported being "addicted" to
cigarettes, the poll shows.
It's no secret that quitting smoking can be tough and often takes repeated
attempts. The 248 former smokers in the Gallup poll tried to kick the habit
about six times, on average.
Getting three or more phone calls from a counselor at a quit-smoking phone
line might help, according to a new research review published in The
The researchers included Lindsay Stead, MSc, who works in England at the
University of Oxford's primary health care department. Stead's team reviewed 48
quit-smoking studies that included telephone counseling to help people quit
The studies had a combined total of more than 36,000 participants who
currently smoked or had recently quit smoking. Most studies were conducted in
the U.S. The four exceptions were a Hong Kong study, a New Zealand study, and
two British studies.
In most studies, quit-smoking counselors called participants. The counselors
didn't wait for the participants to call them. For comparison, some
participants didn't get called by the counselors.
The researchers found that participants who got at least three phone calls
from a quit-smoking counselor were more likely to be smoke-free for at least
six months, compared with those who got no such phone calls.
Getting one or two phone calls from quit-smoking counselors wasn't as
helpful, note Stead and colleagues. "Our review of trials found telephone
counseling to be effective; multiple sessions are likely to be most
helpful," they write.