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Quitting remains a daunting task for smokers. Telephone hotlines deliver less intensive cessation services to large populations with some evidence for smoking cessation and relapse prevention.1–5
Smokers who completed an assessment for the Massachusetts Smoker's Quitline, a part of the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program, are described here. The Quitline services, modelled on the California Smoker's Helpline, included information about smoking cessation, referral to community based tobacco treatment services, printed materials, and telephone counselling to smokers, recent quitters, family, friends, and health service providers of smokers. We compared smokers who completed the assessment for the Quitline to smokers in the general population in Massachusetts.
METHODS AND RESULTS
Data are included on currently smoking Massachusetts residents who called the Quitline between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1997 and completed an interview by trained counsellors. We obtained interview data on smokers from the Massachusetts Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for the years 1994–1997 to represent population based estimates. Both interviews included questions on demographic characteristics, smoking history, level of nicotine addiction, quitting history, and current readiness to quit smoking, but only Quitline interviews asked about confidence in trying to quit smoking.
The BRFSS is a telephone health survey, jointly funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments, that collects information on a variety of health issues including smoking among adults 18 and older throughout the year. The BRFSS survey utilises a complex sampling design, …