Background: It is unclear whether proactive telephone support enhances smoking cessation beyond the provision of nicotine replacement therapy alone.
Methods: We randomly assigned 330 low-income women smokers to receive either free nicotine patches (control condition) or free nicotine patches with up to 16 weeks of proactive telephone support (experimental condition). All participants were assessed by telephone at baseline and at 2 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months post-baseline to determine smoking status.
Results: Results revealed a significant effect for the telephone support at 3 months, with 43% of experimental versus 26% of control condition women reporting 30-day point prevalent abstinence (P = 0.002). The difference was no longer significant at 6 months. A metaanalysis conducted with five randomized studies revealed a slight but non-significant long-term benefit of proactive telephone support when added to the provision of free nicotine patches for smoking cessation.
Conclusions: This is the second study to demonstrate a short-term effect for proactive telephone support added to free nicotine replacement therapy; however, neither the current study, nor the metaanalysis including the four other published trials, confirmed a longer-term benefit.