The effect of brief counselling and NRT sampling on the recruitment of smokers to quit smoking
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Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Integrated Centre on Smoking Cessation, Hong Kong, China
Publication date: 2019-03-26
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2019;5(Supplement):A42
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The smoking population has declined to 10.8% in Hong Kong in 2017 thematic household survey. The passive recruitment measures to motivated smokers to join smoking cessation service exclusively results in a significant missed opportunity to capture the remaining majority of smokers who are not yet planning quit attempts.
2012 Cochrane review suggests that proactive personal contact with potential participants and tailored intervention may help to recruit smokers into smoking cessation programme.
The majority of smokers are ambivalent about quitting. Emerging evidence reveals that providing NRT samples engage both motivated and unmotivated smokers into the quitting process.

In the past two years, a mobile truck was deployed to park at different smoking hotspots to reach the smoking population. We provide brief counselling using 5 A’s and 5 R’ techniques to engage the smokers. Free one week nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), either patch or gum was provided for those who were aged 18 or above, no chronic medical diseases or mental illness, not pregnant or breast feeding no recent hospital admission in the recent 6 months and no contraindications on the use of NRT. They were then recommended to join our formal smoking cessation programme. Phone follow up were arranged within one week to answer queries on any side effects. Those not eligible for NRT sample were also encouraged to join our service.
Personal data were collected. Number of smokers who had received NRT sample and those who had enrolled our full treatment programme were recorded. The self-reported 7-day point prevalence abstinence rate at 8th and 26th week were ascertained by phone contact. Those who defaulted or could not be contacted were considered failure to quit by intention to treat analysis.

2,890 smokers were engaged with brief counseling and 1,394 (48.24%) enrolled our smoke cessation programme The mean age was 41.68 (SD 13.24) with male 2,324 (81.29%) and female 536 (18.71%) with 30 missing data on gender. The average cigarette consumption per day was 17.29 (SD 8.46). The average Fagerstrom score was 4.74 (SD2.38). 1,842(63.74%) received sample NRT of whom 810 (810/1842, 44%) enrolled our full treatment programme whereas 584 (584/1048, 55.7%) without NRT sample enrolled our service. The 7-day point prevalence abstinence rate of all the enrollees at 8th week, 26th week were 47.34%, 38.85% respectively. There was no major adverse events reported.

Discussion and Conclusion:
Many smokers are in a state of contemplation or have no intention of quitting. Our initiative successfully induced 48.2% smokers to undergo formal smoking cessation treatment. The self-reported 7-day point prevalence abstinence rate at 8th and 26th was satisfactory.

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