A randomized controlled trial of a "buddy" systems to improve success at giving up smoking in general practice

Addiction. 1998 Jul;93(7):1007-11. doi: 10.1046/j.1360-0443.1998.93710075.x.


Aims: To assess the effect on abstinence rates of pairing up smokers attending a general practice smokers, clinic to provide mutual support between clinic sessions.

Design: Randomized controlled trial comparing a "buddy" condition with a "solo condition" in which smokers received the e same treatment but were not paired up.

Setting: A general practice smokers' clinic in London.

Participants: One hundred and seventy-two smokers recruited by mailshot. INTERVENTION. Smokers attended a nurse-led smokers clinic 1 week prior to their quit date, on the quite date, 1 week later and 3 weeks after that. Smokers in the buddy condition were paired with another smoker trying to give up at the same time to provide mutual support between clinic sessions.

Measurement: The main outcome measure was the percentage of smokers still abstinent from cigarettes at end of treatment (weeks from quite date), verified by expired air carbon monoxide concentration.

Findings: The percentage of smokers still abstinent at the end of treatment was significantly higher in the buddy condition than the solo condition (27% vs. 12%).

Conclusions: A buddy system can provide an effective element of a smoking cessation intervention at minimal cost. Further research is needed to establish the long-term efficacy of this approach and examine the effectiveness of incorporating social support into other types of smoking cessation programmes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Social Support*
  • Time Factors