A controlled evaluation of a minimal-contact smoking cessation intervention was conducted with 213 inpatients and outpatients at a Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC). The intervention had three components: Brief consultation from a health practitioner; administration of a self-help smoking cessation manual; and provision of an incentive to adhere to recommendations in the manual. Enrollment procedures differed from those of many other smoking-intervention trials in that, instead of enrolling only smokers who were motivated to quit, all patients who smoked and who would normally be considered eligible for a smoking-cessation intervention were included. The evaluation examined acceptability of the program to patients who smoked, overall effectiveness of the intervention, and efficacy of the intervention for specific patient demographic, social status, and health status groups. The program had a high degree of acceptance by patients who smoked, with over 60% agreeing to participate and take home the self-help smoking-cessation manual. The program was effective in getting patients to reduce their daily smoking, and marginally effective in influencing smoking cessation, with some patient groups exhibiting higher cessation rates than others. Special problems to be considered when attempting to influence groups of smokers at high levels of psychological stress and with low levels of education and income--factors normally associated with high rates of smoking and failure in traditional smoking-cessation programs--are discussed in light of the results obtained.