The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of community-based group intervention for tobacco cessation. We recruited 400 men (20-40 years) currently using any form of tobacco from 20 villages of the Indian State of Tamil Nadu and randomized them equally into intervention and control groups. A physician offered two sessions of health education 5 weeks apart along with self-help material on tobacco cessation to the intervention group. The control group received only self-help material. The contents of the sessions included tobacco-related health problems, benefits of quitting, and coping strategies for withdrawal symptoms. Follow-up data were available for 92%. Self-reported point prevalence abstinence of 12.5% in the intervention group was significantly higher than the 6.0% in the control group at 2 months. Community-based group intervention has the potential to increase the coverage of tobacco cessation services for men in rural Tamil Nadu.
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