Background: Although most physicians believe that smoking cessation assistance is important for their patients, the majority of smokers report that they have not received smoking cessation advice from a physician. We therefore tested whether on-site recruitment, training, and organizational assistance in incorporating a smoking intervention system of documented efficacy into nonvolunteer primary care practices would result in higher rates of smoking cessation advice to patients.
Methods: This was a nonrandomized trial comparing all 10 primary care clinics in an intervention area to all 8 primary care clinics from a geographically separate control area. The evaluation was based on the smoking intervention activities of each of the clinics as reported on preintervention and postintervention mail surveys of cohorts of regular smokers seen in the clinics.
Results: Preintervention, 22.9% +/- 11.2% of the intervention clinic cohort and 21.9% +/- 9.6% (P = .84) of the control clinic cohort reported that they had been asked about tobacco during a clinic visit in the prior 6 months. Postintervention, the intervention clinic cohort was significantly more likely to report that someone had asked them if they smoked (39.8% +/- 12.3% vs 26.0% +/- 12.2%; P less than .05), that their physician asked them to quit if they were currently smoking (40.5% +/- 12.1% vs 26.4% +/- 14.6%; P less than .05), and that someone had commended them if they had recently quit smoking (28.2% +/- 19.8 vs 11.3% +/- 11.8%; P less than .05).
Conclusions: The intervention significantly increased the rates at which a population of primary care clinics identified their patients who smoked, advised them to quit smoking, and commended those who had recently quit smoking.