Objectives: What proportion of smokers in a deprived area of London, contacted by telephone, are interested in quitting and accept a referral for cessation support?
Methods: Current smokers from records of general practitioners (GPs) were telephoned; if interested in quitting they were offered a referral to the local Stop Smoking Service (SSS) and smoking status was assessed after 6 months.
Results: Over half of current smokers (53%) were interested in receiving help to stop and 39% accepted a referral to the SSS. Six months later 21% of those contacted reported not smoking. Over one-quarter (28%) of those referred set a quit date with the service and 39% of these were recorded as abstinent four weeks after their quit date.
Conclusion: Calling smokers from GP lists appears to offer promise as a means of prompting quit attempts and ensuring that the chances of these quit attempts succeeding are maximized through attendance at NHS SSS.
Practice implications: GP records need to be accurate and maintained. Smoking patients can be contacted by telephone, informed about the availability of local cessation services and referred directly.
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