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Effectiveness of a Mobile Smoking Cessation Service in Reaching Elderly Smokers and Predictors of Quitting


Effectiveness of a Mobile Smoking Cessation Service in Reaching Elderly Smokers and Predictors of Quitting

Abu Saleh M Abdullah et al. BMC Geriatr.


Background: Different smoking cessation programmes have been developed in the last decade but utilization by the elderly is low. We evaluated a pilot mobile smoking cessation service for the Chinese elderly in Hong Kong and identified predictors of quitting.

Methods: The Mobile Smoking Cessation Programme (MSCP) targeted elderly smokers (aged 60 or above) and provided service in a place that was convenient to the elderly. Trained counsellors provided individual counselling and 4 week's free supply of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Follow up was arranged at 1 month by face-to-face and at 3 and 6 months by telephone plus urinary cotinine validation. A structured record sheet was used for data collection. The service was evaluated in terms of process, outcome and cost.

Results: 102 governmental and non-governmental social service units and private residential homes for the elderly participated in the MSCP. We held 90 health talks with 3266 elderly (1140 smokers and 2126 non-smokers) attended. Of the 1140 smokers, 365 (32%) received intensive smoking cessation service. By intention-to-treat, the validated 7 day point prevalence quit rate was 20.3% (95% confidence interval: 16.2%-24.8%). Smoking less than 11 cigarettes per day and being adherent to NRT for 4 weeks or more were significant predictors of quitting. The average cost per contact was US$54 (smokers only); per smoker with counselling: US$168; per self-reported quitter: US$594; and per cotinine validated quitter: US$827.

Conclusion: This mobile smoking cessation programme was acceptable to elderly Chinese smokers, with quit rate comparable to other comprehensive programmes in the West. A mobile clinic is a promising model to reach the elderly and probably other hard to reach smokers.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Flow of subject recruitment in the Mobile Smoking Cessation Programme (MSCP).

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