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Keywords:

  • decision aid;
  • randomized trial;
  • smoking cessation;
  • treatment

ABSTRACT

Aims  Most smokers attempt to stop smoking without using help. We evaluated the efficacy of a decision aid to motivate quitters to use efficacious treatment.

Setting and participants  A total of 1014 were recruited from a convenience sample of 3391 smokers who intended to quit smoking within 6 months.

Design and intervention  Smokers were assigned randomly to either receive the decision aid or no intervention. The decision aid was expected to motivate quitters to use efficacious cessation methods and contained neutral information on treatment methods, distinguishing between efficacious and non-efficacious treatments.

Measurements  Baseline questionnaire and follow-ups were used 2 weeks and 6 months after the start of the intervention. 

Findings  The decision aid increased knowledge of cessation methods and induced a more positive attitude towards these methods. Furthermore, 45% reported increased confidence about being able to quit and 43% said it helped them to choose between treatments. However, no clear effect on usage of treatment aids was found, but the intervention group had more quit attempts (OR = 1.52, 95% CI 1.14–2.02) and higher point prevalence abstinence at 6-month follow-up (20.2% versus 13.6%; OR = 1.51, 95% CI = 1.07–2.11).

Conclusions  An aid to help smokers decide to use efficacious treatment when attempting to quit smoking had a positive effect on smoking cessation, while failing to increase the usage of efficacious treatment. This finding lends support to the notion that the mere promotion of efficacious treatments for tobacco addiction might increase the number of quit attempts, irrespective of the actual usage of treatment.