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Enhancing partner support to improve smoking cessation


  • E-W Park,

    Associate Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Dankook University, Department of Family Medicine, Cheonan, Chungnam, KOREA, SOUTH
    • E-W Park, Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Dankook University, Dankook University Hospital, Department of Family Medicine, 16-5 Anseo-Dong, Cheonan, Chungnam, 330-715, KOREA, SOUTH.

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  • JK Schultz,

  • F Tudiver,

  • T Campbell,

  • L Becker



While many cessation programs are available to assist smokers in quitting, research suggests that partner involvement may encourage long-term abstinence.


The purpose of this review was to determine if an intervention to enhance partner support helps smoking cessation when added as an adjunct to a smoking cessation program.

Search strategy

The search was performed in: Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group specialized register (Aug 2001), Cochrane controlled trials register (Apr 2000), CDC and Prevention-Tobacco Information and Prevention Database (Jul 2000), MEDLINE (1966-Jul 2000), Cancer Lit (1966-Jul 2000), EMBASE (1974-Apr 2000), CINAHL (1966-Jul 2000), PsycInfo (1861-Oct 2000), ERIC, PsycLit, & Dissertation Abstracts (1861-Dec 1999), SSCI (1972-Jul 2000) and HealthStar (1975-Jul 2000). The search terms used were smoking (prevention, control, therapy), smoking cessation, and support (family, marriage, spouse, partner, sexual partner, buddy, friend, co-habitees, and co-worker). The search was also limited to English language.

Selection criteria

Randomized controlled trials of smoking cessation interventions that compared an intervention that included a partner support component with an otherwise identical intervention and reported follow-up of 6 months or greater.

Data collection and analysis

Two reviewers independently extracted data using a structured form. A third reviewer was consulted to aid in the resolution of discrepancies. Abstinence and biochemical assessment were the primary outcome measures and were analyzed at two post-treatment intervals: 6-9 months and >12 months. The scores of PIQ (partner interaction questionnaire) were also analyzed to assess partner support. A fixed-effects model was used to assess the summary effect of the studies.

Main results

A total of 31 articles were identified for this review. Only eight articles (nine studies) met the inclusion criteria. The definition of partner varied among the studies. All studies included data on self reported smoking cessation rates, but there was limited biochemical validation of abstinence rates. The odds ratio for self-reported abstinence at 6-9 months was 1.08 (CI 95%, 0.81 -1.44); and at 12 months post-treatment was 1.0 (CI 95%, 0.75 - 1.34). Of the six studies that measured partner support at follow-up, only two studies reported significant increase in partner support in the intervention groups.

Reviewers' conclusions

In this review of studies of interventions designed to enhance partner support for smokers in cessation programs, we failed to detect an increase in quit rates. Limited data from several of the RCTs suggest that these interventions did not increase partner support either. No conclusions can be made about the impact of partner support on smoking cessation. More systematic intervention to affect partnership significantly should be delivered if partner support were part of an existing cessation program.

Plain language summary


Interventions to help smokers obtain improved support for their smoking cessation attempts from partners and other people have not been shown to improve long term quit rates

Smokers who get support from partners and other people are more likely to successfully quit. Interventions intended to improve the support received have not been shown to increase long term quit rates compared to a smoking cessation programme without a partner support component. The interventions may not have successfully changed the support provided.

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