Tobacco smoking is the leading preventable cause of mortality and morbidity. Although behavioral counseling combined with pharmacotherapy is the most effective approach to aiding smoking cessation, intensive treatments are rarely chosen by smokers, citing inconvenience. In contrast, minimal self-help interventions have the potential for greater reach, with demonstrated efficacy for relapse prevention, but not for smoking cessation. This paper summarizes the design and methods used for a randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy of a minimal self-help smoking cessation intervention that consists of a set of booklets delivered across time. Baseline participant recruitment data are also presented. Daily smokers were recruited nationally via multimedia advertisements and randomized to one of three conditions. The Usual Care (UC) group received a standard smoking-cessation booklet. The Standard Repeated Mailings (SRM) group received 8 booklets mailed over a 12-month period. The Intensive Repeated Mailings (IRM) group received 10 booklets and additional supplemental materials mailed monthly over 18months. A total of 2641 smokers were screened, 2349 were randomized, and 1874 provided data for analyses. Primary outcomes will be self-reported abstinence at 6-month intervals up to 30months. If the self-help booklets are efficacious, this minimal, low cost intervention can be widely disseminated and, hence, has the potential for significant public health impact with respect to reduction in smoking-related illness and mortality.
Keywords: Randomized controlled trial; Self-help intervention; Smoking cessation intervention.
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