Objectives: In search of less time-consuming methods of smoking cessation Allen Carr' seminars performed at workplaces in Austria were evaluated.
Methods: Of all the 357 smokers attending a seminar in summer 2002, 308 (86%), consented to participate in a repeated health survey, including the SF-36 questionnaire. After 3 months 268 (87%) gave computer-aided telephone interviews and 223 (72%) after 1 year. Analysis by logistic regression was done separately for males and females.
Results: The 1-year quit rate was 40% (worst case assumption) to 55% (best estimate). In 96% of quitters an intensive counseling for 6 h without pharmaceutical aid thereafter was sufficient to maintain abstinence for 12 months. A long smoking history or many earlier unsuccessful attempts to quit did not predict failure. The risk of relapse was found higher in young men with a high number of pack-years and in women with good physical fitness but high Fagerstroem score and financial reasons for the intention to quit smoking. While an average weight gain of 3 kg in males was not associated with failure to quit smoking, we found the highest weight gain (4 kg) in females in the group abstinent at 3 months but smoking again at 12 months. In all participants subjective life quality scored by SF-36 improved. In quitters perception of general health improved more.
Conclusions: Group counseling at the workplace was found to be an efficient method of smoking cessation, capable of increasing subjective life quality and health and to smooth the way to smoke-free enterprises.