Introduction: Effective smoking cessation treatment requires active patient engagement. This may be particularly important for rural smokers who have less access to smoking cessation resources than others. This study describes long-term engagement in counseling for smoking cessation and factors associated with engagement.
Methods: As part of a randomized trial, 231 rural smokers received up to 6 telephone-based counseling sessions at 6-month intervals over 24 months. Engagement in treatment was categorized according to the number of counseling calls each interval. During the final 6-month interval, more than 60% of continuing smokers remained engaged in treatment. Call completion varied over time; while levels of engagement dropped after the first interval, many continuing smokers remained engaged throughout the study. Education, age, motivation, income, diabetes, and health insurance status were predictors of treatment engagement.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that smokers will remain engaged in long-term counseling designed to address the chronic nature of nicotine dependence.