Advice as a smoking cessation strategy: a systematic review and implications for physical therapists

Physiother Theory Pract. 2009 Jul;25(5-6):369-407. doi: 10.1080/09593980903011887.


Although identified as a clinical priority, smoking cessation has been addressed minimally in the literature in the context of physical therapy practice. Smoking cessation advice delivered by a health professional can help smokers quit. The salient components of such advice however warranted elucidation to enable physical therapists to integrate this clinical competence into their practices. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review to elucidate the effectiveness of advice by a health professional and its components to optimize smoking cessation instituted in the context of physical therapy practice. Thirty source articles were identified. A random-effects model meta-analysis was used to assess the effectiveness of the advice parameters. Risk ratios (RRs) were used to estimate pooled treatment effects. RRs for brief, intermediate, and intensive advice were 1.74 (95% CI=1.37, 2.22), 1.71 (95% CI=1.39, 2.09), and 1.60 (95% CI=1.13, 2.27), respectively. Self-help materials, follow-up, and interventions based on psychological or motivational frameworks were particularly effective components of intermediate and intensive advice interventions. Advice can be readily integrated into physical therapy practice and used to initiate or support ongoing smoking cessation in clients irrespective of reason for referral. Incorporating smoking cessation as a physical therapy goal is consistent with the contemporary definition of the profession and the mandates of physical therapy professional associations to promote health and wellness, including smoking cessation for both primary health benefit and to minimize secondary effects (e.g., delayed healing and recovery, and medical and surgical complications). Thus, advice is an evidence-based strategy to effect smoking cessation that can be exploited in physical therapy practice. Further research to refine how best to assess smokers and, in turn, individualize brief smoking cessation advice could augment positive smoking cessation outcomes.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Counseling*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Physical Therapy Specialty*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Young Adult