Smoking cessation quitlines: an underrecognized intervention success story

Am Psychol. 2010 May-Jun;65(4):252-61. doi: 10.1037/a0018598.


Quitlines providing telephone counseling for smoking cessation derive from behavioral research and theory, have been shown to be effective, and have been adopted and then institutionalized at both the state and national levels. Although psychologists have made seminal contributions to quitline development and evaluation, this accomplishment has gone largely unnoticed by the practice and research communities in clinical, counseling, and health psychology. This article summarizes the development, content, structure, empirical status, and current reach of cessation quitlines. We note the rich research opportunities afforded by quitlines, describe some recent approaches to improving their effectiveness, and suggest that an understanding of how quitlines work could also improve their effectiveness. The implications for practitioners and the potential application of telephone counseling to other disorders are also considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel / education
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Counseling / methods
  • Ethnicity / psychology
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Hotlines* / economics
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Language
  • Mentors
  • Motivation
  • Psychological Theory
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Research
  • Smoking Cessation / economics
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States