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Research paper
The Gold Standard Programme: smoking cessation interventions for disadvantaged smokers are effective in a real-life setting
  1. Tim Neumann1,2,
  2. Mette Rasmussen1,
  3. Nermin Ghith1,2,
  4. Berit L Heitmann3,
  5. Hanne Tønnesen1,2
  1. 1WHO CC, Clinical Health Promotion Centre, Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. 2Clinical Health Promotion Centre, Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden
  3. 3Research Unit for Dietary Studies, Institute of Preventive Medicine, Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tim Neumann, Clinical Health Promotion Centre, Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, SUS, Entrance 108, SE-205 02, Malmö, Sweden; tim.neumann{at}


Objectives To evaluate the real-life effect of an evidence-based Gold Standard Programme (GSP) for smoking cessation interventions in disadvantaged patients and to identify modifiable factors that consistently produce the highest abstinence rates.

Design Observational prospective cohort study.

Setting GSPs in pharmacies, hospitals and communities in Denmark, reporting to the national Smoking Cessation Database.

Participants Disadvantaged patients, defined as patients with a lower level of education and those receiving unemployment benefits.

Interventions 6-week manualised GSP smoking cessation interventions performed by certified staff.

Main outcome measures 6 months of continuous abstinence, response rate: 80%.

Results Continuous abstinence of the 16 377 responders was 34% (of all 20 588 smokers: 27%). Continuous abstinence was lower in 5738 smokers with a lower educational level (30% of responders and 23% of all) and in 840 unemployed (27% of responders and 19% of all). In respect to modifiable factors, continuous abstinence was found more often after programmes in one-on-one formats (vs group formats) among patients with a lower educational level, 34% (vs 25%, p=0.037), or among unemployed, 35% (vs 24%, p=0.099). The variable ‘format’ stayed in the final model of multivariable analyses in patients with a lower educational level, OR=1.31 (95% CI 1.05 to 1.63).

Conclusions Although continuous abstinence was lower among disadvantaged smokers, the absolute difference was small. If the programme had been as effective in disadvantaged as in non-disadvantaged groups, there would have been an extra 46 or 8 quitters annually, respectively. Promoting individual interventions among those with a low education may increase the effectiveness of GSP.

  • Smoking
  • smoking cessation intervention
  • health disparities
  • health inequalities
  • nationwide database

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • This paper has been presented in part at the 19th International Conference on Health Promoting Hospitals & Health Services, 2011, Turku, Finland.

  • Funding Funding was provided by the Danish National Board of Health and the Danish Ministry of Interior and Health. The funders finance the daily function of the Danish Smoking Cessation Database. The funders have not been involved in the research project.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This project was approved by the Danish Data Protection Agency (J.-Nr. 2010-41-5463) and registered at the Scientific Ethical Committee (Prot.-Nr. H-C-FSP-2010-049). All patients gave written informed consent.

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

  • Data sharing statement Technical appendix is available on Participants gave no informed consent for data sharing.

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