Tob Control 7:253-261 doi:10.1136/tc.7.3.253
  • Original article

Training pharmacists and pharmacy assistants in the stage-of-change model of smoking cessation: a randomised controlled trial in Scotland


OBJECTIVE To evaluate a training workshop for community pharmacy personnel to improve their counselling in smoking cessation based on the stage-of-change model.

DESIGN A randomised controlled trial of community pharmacies and pharmacy customers.

SETTING All 76 non-city community pharmacies registered in Grampian, Scotland, were invited to participate. Sixty-two pharmacies (82%) were recruited.

SUBJECTS All the intervention pharmacy personnel were invited to attend the training; 40 pharmacists and 54 assistants attended. A total of 492 customers who smoked (224 intervention, 268 controls) were recruited during the 12-month recruitment period (overall recruitment rate 63%).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES The perceptions of customers and pharmacy personnel of the pharmacy support and self-reported smoking cessation rates for the two groups of customers at one, four, and nine months.

RESULTS The intervention customer respondents were significantly more likely to have discussed stopping smoking with pharmacy personnel, 85% (113) compared with 62% (99) of the controls (p<0.001). The former also rated their discussion more highly; 34% (45) of the intervention customers compared with 16% (25) of the controls rated it as “very useful” (p = 0.048). Assuming non-responders had lapsed, one-month point prevalence of abstinence was claimed by 30% of intervention customers and 24% of controls (p = 0.12); four months’ continuous abstinence was claimed by 16% of intervention customers and 11% of controls (p = 0.094); and nine months’ continuous abstinence was claimed by 12% of intervention customers and 7% of controls (p = 0.089). These trends in outcome were not affected by potential confounders (sex, age, socioeconomic status, nicotine dependence, and type of nicotine replacement product used) or adjustment for clustering.

CONCLUSIONS The intervention was associated with increased and more highly rated counselling, and a trend toward higher smoking cessation rates, indicating that community pharmacy personnel have the potential to make a significant contribution to national smoking cessation targets.

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