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Using radon risk to motivate smoking reduction: evaluation of written materials and brief telephone counselling
  1. Edward Lichtensteina,
  2. Judy A Andrewsa,
  3. Michael E Leea,
  4. Russell E Glasgowb,
  5. Sarah E Hampsonc
  1. aOregon Research Institute, Eugene, Oregon, USA, bIAMC Cancer Research Center, Denver, Colorado, USA, cDepartment of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK
  1. Edward Lichtenstein PhD, Oregon Research Institute, 1715 Franklin Boulevard, Eugene, OR 97403, USA; edl{at}


OBJECTIVE Radon and cigarette smoking have synergistic effects on lung cancer, even when radon concentrations are relatively low. Working through an electric utility company, we sought to reach smoking households with low radon concentrations and motivate smoking cessation or prohibiting smoking in the home.

DESIGN Eligible homes (n = 714) were randomised to receive: (1) the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) “A citizen's guide to radon”; (2) a specially developed pamphlet; or (3) that pamphlet plus brief telephone counselling.

PROCEDURE Utility company “bill stuffers” offered free radon test kits to smoking households. All households received radon test results with an explanatory cover letter. Both the specially developed pamphlet and the telephone counselling emphasised that smoking cessation or prohibiting smoking in the home were the optimal risk reduction strategies. Households were followed up at 3 and 12 months after receiving materials.

RESULTS The specially developed pamphlet and the EPA guide yielded similar outcomes. There was a non-significant trend for telephone counselling to produce greater sustained quitting than the specially developed pamphlet, and phone counselling led to significantly more new household smoking bans.

CONCLUSIONS Working through a public utility company is an efficient way to reach smoking households, and brief telephone counselling is a promising method for promoting household smoking bans and cessation in homes alerted to the risk posed by the combination of radon and smoking.

  • radon risk
  • smoking cessation
  • smoking bans
  • telephone counselling

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