Objective: Using a quasi-experimental design, this paper contributes to an important debate about the most effective form of psychological treatment to aid smoking cessation: group treatment provided by specialists or one-to-one treatment provided in the community by primary care nurses or pharmacists.
Methods: Data were routinely collected from 1501 clients of a large London stop smoking service that offered both group and one-to-one treatment.
Results: A quarter (25%) of the clients were continuously abstinent 4 weeks post-quit: 30% for those receiving group treatment and 19% for one-to-one (Fisher's exact [2-sided]<.001). The difference between the specialist and community-based treatment remained after all possible confounding factors were controlled for (OR: 2.27, p<.001).
Conclusions: In the same service with the same management structure and training programme, group treatment offered by the specialist service yielded higher success rates than counselling by trained primary care nurses and pharmacists.