Background: Previous studies have examined methods of delivery of brief interventions and reinforcement contact and their effects on physicians' utilization of smoking cessation interventions. In this study the objectives were: (1) to determine the ongoing utilization by family physicians of a brief smoking cessation intervention 6 months after a training workshop and (2) to examine the effect of reinforcement contact on physician utilization. A supplementary aim was to assess point prevalence abstinence among patients identified as ready to quit smoking.
Methods: This was a randomized controlled trial of family physicians (98 in the Contact and 100 in the Noncontact group). Training was conducted in a 2-hr workshop. Doctors in the Contact group received three brief telephone calls at 2 weeks, 2 months, and 4 months after training. Main outcome measures were: (1) utilization, determined by responses to a mailed questionnaire about use of the program, and (2) the number of booklets distributed by full-time doctors, collected by practice secretaries or research assistant.
Results: At 6 months 88% of physicians (93% of the Contact group and 84% of the Noncontact group, P = 0.06) were current users of the smoking cessation intervention. Full-time physicians in the Contact group distributed significantly more booklets (40.1) over 6 months than those in the Noncontact group (32.8) (P < 0.05). Twenty-one percent of patients reported not smoking at follow-up at an average of 9.9 months after intervention.
Conclusions: Most doctors continued to use the program 6 months after training and reinforcement contact encouraged greater recruitment of patients.