Enhancing smoking cessation of low-income smokers in managed care

J Fam Pract. 2001 Feb;50(2):138-44.


Background: Although office-based and telephone support services enhance the rate of smoking cessation in managed care systems, it is not clear whether such services are effective for very low-income smokers. We evaluated the comparative effectiveness of usual care (physician-delivered advice and follow-up) and usual care enhanced by 6 computer-assisted telephonic-counseling sessions by office nurses and telephone counselors for smoking cessation in very low-income smokers in Medicaid managed care.

Methods: A randomized clinical trial comparing the 2 approaches was conducted in 3 Michigan community health centers. All clinicians and center staff received standard training in usual care. Selected nurses and telephone counselors received special training in a computer-assisted counseling program focusing on relapse prevention.

Results: The majority of the study population (233 adult smokers with telephones) were white (64%) women (70%) with annual incomes of less than $10,000 (79%) and with prescriptions of nicotine replacement therapy (>90%). At 3 months, quit rates (smoke-free status verified by carbon monoxide monitors) were 8.1% in the usual-care group and 21% in the telephonic-counseling group (P=.009) by intention-to-treat analysis. Special tracking methods were successful in maintaining participants in treatment.

Conclusions: Smoking cessation rates are enhanced in a population of very low-income smokers if individualized telephonic-counseling is provided. State and Medicaid managed care plans should consider investing in both office-based nurse and centralized telephonic-counseling services for low-income smokers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aftercare / methods
  • Aftercare / standards
  • Community Health Centers
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / methods*
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Managed Care Programs / standards*
  • Michigan
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Office Nursing / standards*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Poverty* / psychology
  • Program Evaluation
  • Recurrence
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Telephone*