Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Randomised trial of three approaches for marketing smoking cessation programmes to Australian general practitioners.

British Medical Journal 1992; 304 doi: (Published 14 March 1992) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1992;304:691
  1. J. Cockburn,
  2. D. Ruth,
  3. C. Silagy,
  4. M. Dobbin,
  5. Y. Reid,
  6. M. Scollo,
  7. L. Naccarella
  1. Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Carlton, Victoria, Australia.


    OBJECTIVE--To compare three approaches for marketing a quit smoking intervention kit to general practitioners. DESIGN--Randomised trial of (a) personal delivery and presentation by an educational facilitator with a follow up visit six weeks later; (b) delivery to the receptionist by a friendly volunteer courier with a follow up phone call six weeks later, or (c) postal delivery with a follow up letter six weeks later. SETTING--Melbourne, Australia. SUBJECTS--264 randomly selected general practitioners. DATA COLLECTION--A research assistant visited each doctor four months after delivery and measured use of components of the kit. A questionnaire measuring perceptions of aspects of the kit and its delivery was completed by doctors. Costs of each approach were calculated. RESULTS--Doctors receiving the educational facilitator approach were significantly more likely than those receiving the other two approaches to have seen the kit, to rate the method of delivery as engendering motivation to try the kit, to have used one of the "intensive intervention" components from the kit, to report that they found the kit less complicated, and to report greater knowledge of how to use the kit. There were no significant differences in use of "minimal intervention" components of the kit, ratings of overall acceptability of delivery, perceptions of cultural and structural barriers to using the kit, and ratings of the overall acceptability of the kit. The cost of the educational facilitator approach ($A142/doctor) was 24 times that of the mailed approach. The volunteer courier approach ($A14) was twice the cost of the mailed approach. CONCLUSION--Educational facilitators and volunteer couriers do not seem to be cost effective strategies for distributing smoking interventions.