Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Three year evaluation of a programme by general practitioners to help patients to stop smoking.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 292 doi: (Published 22 March 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;292:803
  1. R L Richmond,
  2. A Austin,
  3. I W Webster


    A controlled study was undertaken to measure the effectiveness of general practitioners' use of an intensive programme to help patients to stop smoking. Two hundred cigarette smokers who attended a general practice were allocated to either a treatment (n = 100) or a non-intervention control (n = 100) group. After the initial visit treatment consisted of an educational consultation and four follow up visits. Smoking state was assessed biochemically at six months and three years. Thirty five patients in the treatment group were abstinent at three years compared with eight in the control group (p less than 0.001). Sixty four patients attended the educational consultation and first follow up visit; of these, 45 were not smoking at the first follow up visit, 30 maintained abstinence up to six months, and 22 were still not smoking after three years. Among the 37 patients who completed the treatment programme and attended all the follow up visits 57% were abstinent at three years. The results of this study suggest that general practitioners can help patients to stop smoking.