Effectiveness of a stepped primary care smoking cessation intervention: cluster randomized clinical trial (ISTAPS study)


Carmen Cabezas, Subdirecció General de Promoció de la Salut, Direcció General de Salut Pública, Departament de Salut, Roc Boronat, 81-95, 08005 Barcelona, Spain. E-mail: carmen.cabezas@gencat.cat


Aim  To evaluate the effectiveness in primary care of a stepped smoking cessation intervention based on the transtheoretical model of change.

Design  Cluster randomized trial; unit of randomization: basic care unit (family physician and nurse who care for the same group of patients); and intention-to-treat analysis.

Setting  All interested basic care units (n = 176) that worked in 82 primary care centres belonging to the Spanish Preventive Services and Health Promotion Research Network in 13 regions of Spain.

Participants  A total of 2827 smokers (aged 14–85 years) who consulted a primary care centre for any reason, provided written informed consent and had valid interviews.

Measurements  The outcome variable was the 1-year continuous abstinence rate at the 2-year follow-up. The main variable was the study group (intervention/control). Intervention involved 6-month implementation of recommendations from a Clinical Practice Guideline which included brief motivational interviews for smokers at the precontemplation–contemplation stage, brief intervention for smokers in preparation–action who do not want help, intensive intervention with pharmacotherapy for smokers in preparation–action who want help and reinforcing intervention in the maintenance stage. Control group involved usual care. Among others, characteristics of tobacco use and motivation to quit variables were also collected.

Findings  The 1-year continuous abstinence rate at the 2-year follow-up was 8.1% in the intervention group and 5.8% in the control group (P = 0.014). In the multivariate logistic regression, the odds of quitting of the intervention versus control group was 1.50 (95% confidence interval = 1.05–2.14).

Conclusions  A stepped smoking cessation intervention based on the transtheoretical model significantly increased smoking abstinence at a 2-year follow-up among smokers visiting primary care centres.