The effectiveness of personalized smoking cessation strategies for callers to a Quitline service

Addiction. 2003 Jun;98(6):837-46. doi: 10.1046/j.1360-0443.2003.00389.x.


Aim: To assess the effectiveness of a program of computer-generated tailored advice for callers to a telephone helpline, and to assess whether it enhanced a series of callback telephone counselling sessions in aiding smoking cessation.

Design: Randomized controlled trial comparing: (1) untailored self-help materials; (2) computer-generated tailored advice only, and (3) computer-generated tailored advice plus callback telephone counselling. Assessment surveys were conducted at baseline, 3, 6 and 12 months.

Setting: Victoria, Australia.

Participants: A total of 1578 smokers who called the Quitline service and agreed to participate.

Measurements: Smoking status at follow-up; duration of cessation, if quit; use of nicotine replacement therapy; and extent of participation in the callback service.

Findings: At the 3-month follow-up, significantly more (chi2(2) = 16.9; P < 0.001) participants in the computer-generated tailored advice plus telephone counselling condition were not smoking (21%) than in either the computer-generated advice only (12%) or the control condition (12%). Proportions reporting not smoking at the 12-month follow-up were 26%, 23% and 22%, respectively (NS) for point prevalence, and for 9 months sustained abstinence; 8.2, 6.0, and 5.0 (NS). In the telephone counselling group, those receiving callbacks were more likely than those who did not to have sustained abstinence at 12 months (10.2 compared with 4.0, P < 0.05). Logistic regression on 3-month data showed significant independent effects on cessation of telephone counselling and use of NRT, but not of computer-generated tailored advice.

Conclusion: Computer-generated tailored advice did not enhance telephone counselling, nor have any independent effect on cessation. This may be due to poor timing of the computer-generated tailored advice and poor integration of the two modes of advice.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hotlines*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Dropouts
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Telephone
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Treatment Outcome