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Proactive recruitment in clinical trials: an idea whose time has come
  1. Matthew J Carpenter
  1. Correspondence to Matthew J Carpenter, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Hollings Cancer Center, Medical University of South Carolina, 86 Jonathan Lucas St., PO Box 250955, Charleston SC 29425, USA; carpente{at}

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A recently pulished study reported on the reach and efficacy of proactive telephone counselling for smoking cessation.1 Based on a large (N=3008) randomised clinical trial (RCT), smokers who received proactive phone counselling were more likely to report short-term (4 months) and mid-term (6 months) abstinence than those who received mailed quit tips. The paper is described as being the first trial to assess the efficacy of proactive telephone counselling to smokers in the general population. However, a prior study by our group used very similar methodology to recruit US smokers into a clinical trial of cessation induction.2

Briefly, our prior study recruited smokers via proactive, cold calls. Since the primary focus of the trial was cessation induction among smokers unmotivated to quit, the screening process provided enrolment options for those wanting to quit (cessation arm) versus those not wanting to quit (non-cessation arm). Interested and eligible individuals in the non-cessation arm were recruited …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.