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Although health care providers appear to be an obvious choice for delivering smoking cessation education, they often lack the resources, training, and time to provide anything more than a recommendation to quit and generic pamphlets for reinforcement. Traditionally, this type of material is designed to include information for many potential users, thus making it difficult for an individual to find the pieces most relevant to them. In contrast, tailored print materials provide only information which is relevant to a subject, making it far more usable. One study assessing tailored print messages found a threefold increase in cessation rates among patients in a family practice setting, four months after receipt of tailored versus untailored smoking cessation messages.1 Numerous other studies, targeting a number of different populations, have also shown that tailored messages are an effective intervention for smoking cessation.2
In tailoring, we use individual patient responses to select only relevant behaviour change messages. These messages provide information specific to an individual's needs and interests and can reinforce messages from health professionals. Because they are personalised, tailored materials offer a potentially superior alternative to generic materials designed to reach a broad audience. Quit for Keeps used a pre-test/post-test experimental design to test the effects of tailored interventions on pregnant smokers.
Participants in this study included 92 women enrolled at the Taubman obstetrics and gynaecology (ob/gyn) clinic at the University of Michigan and 81 women enrolled at the ob/gyn clinic at the University of North Carolina hospital from December 1996 to December 1997. Eligible participants were those who reported having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and who were either still smoking or had quit since becoming pregnant. Subjects were screened for eligibility during the New to the Nurse orientation program in North Carolina or during their first pre-natal …