Aims: To evaluate whether a structured community pharmacy-based smoking cessation programme (the PAS model) would give rise to a higher smoking cessation rate compared with ad hoc advice from pharmacists.
Design: A randomized controlled trial comparing a structured intervention with usual care.
Setting: One hundred pharmacists working in community pharmacies in N. Ireland and 24 in London took part in the study and were each asked to enroll 12 smokers; 44% of pharmacists who were trained managed to recruit one or more smokers during the recruitment period of approximately 1 year.
Participants: A total of 484 smokers were enrolled by the pharmacists and individually randomized into the PAS intervention group (N = 265) or the control group (N = 219).
Intervention: The PAS intervention involved a structured counselling programme, an information leaflet and a follow-up weekly for the first 4 weeks then monthly as needed.
Measurements: The primary outcome measure of this study was self-reported smoking cessation for 12 months with cotinine validation at the 12-month follow-up.
Findings: Of smokers in the PAS group, 14.3% (38) were abstinent up to 12 months compared with 2.7% (6) in the control group (p < 0.001 for the difference).
Conclusion: The community pharmacy-based PAS smoking cessation service can be an effective method of helping people stop smoking when delivered by pharmacists willing to adopt this approach.