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All authors declare that they have no competing interests.
YH, BJ and THL helped design the study and analyzed the data. BJ, FZ, QHL, CXZ and LZ helped data collection and field operations. THL and SSCC contributed to the setting up of the clinic, design of the interventions and provided training. All authors helped prepare the manuscript. We thank LX, JHZ and JF for research assistance in the interview of follow-up. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
No previous studies have investigated whether additional telephone follow-up counseling sessions after face-to-face counseling can increase quitting in China, and whether this strategy is feasible and effective for promoting smoking cessation is still unclear.
A non-randomized controlled study was conducted in Beijing. We compared the quit rates of one group which received face-to-face counseling (FC) alone (one session of 40 min) to another group which received the same face-to-face counseling plus four follow-up sessions of brief telephone counseling (15–20 min each) at 1 week, 1, 3 and 6 month follow-up (FCF). No smoking cessation medication was provided. From October 2008 to August 2013, Chinese male smokers who sought treatment in a part-time regular smoking cessation clinic of a large general hospital in Beijing were invited to participate in the present study. Eligible male smokers (n = 547) were divided into two groups: FC (n = 149) and FCF (n = 398). Main outcomes were self-reported 7-day point prevalence and 6 month continuous quit rates at 12 month follow-up.
By intention to treat, at 12 month follow-up, the 7-day point prevalence and 6 month continuous quit rates of FC and FCF were 14.8 % and 26.4 %, and 10.7 % and 19.6 % respectively. The adjusted odds ratios (95 % confidence intervals) of quitting in FCF compared to FC was 2.34 (1.34–4.10) (P = 0.003) and 2.41 (1.28–4.52) (P = 0.006), respectively. Stepwise logistic regression showed that FCF, being married, unemployed and a lower Fagerström score were significant independent predictors of 6 month continuous quitting at 12 month follow-up.
Using systematically collected data from real-world practice, our smoking cessation clinic has shown that the additional telephone follow-up counseling sessions doubled the quit rate.