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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Smoking cessation quitlines in Europe: matching services to callers' characteristics

Tuesday, January 11, 2011  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov

Willemsen MC, van der Meer RM, Schippers GM. BMC Public Health 2010, 10:770doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-770.

This study examined how quitline services were matched to callers' level of addiction, educational level, stage-of-change with quitting, and whether they were referred by a doctor or other health professional. Quitline counselors collected data on characteristics of and services used by 3,585 callers to seven European quitlines between February 2005 and April 2006. Forty-three percent of all callers received information on pharmacotherapy and were primarily heavy smokers. There was a relationship between the length of conversations and the educational level of the smoker: the lower the education of the smoker, the shorter the call. The smoker's stage of quitting and the type of advice provided by the counselor were also related. Smokers in the action stage of quitting were more likely to receive advice or counseling than those in the preparation stage, who were less likely to be referred. Few of the total number of calls (10.7%) were from referrals by health professionals. Referred callers were more likely to receive counseling, but this was found only in four of seven quitlines. The authors conclude that most of the services offered favored heavy smokers and those at a more advanced stage of cessation, but not based on their educational level. Furthermore, they recommend that European quitlines extend and tailor their services to include less-educated smokers.

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