Aims To assess longer-term outcomes of a drop-in rolling-group model of behavioural support for smoking cessation and the factors that influence cessation outcomes.
Design Prospective observational cohort study.
Setting Fag Ends NHS Stop Smoking Service in Liverpool and Knowsley, UK.
Participants A total of 2585 clients, aged 16 or over, setting a quit date.
Measurements Routine monitoring data were collected from Fag Ends service users and were supplemented by survey data on socio-economic circumstances, smoking-related behaviour and self-report and carbon monoxide (CO)-validated smoking status at 52-week follow-up.
Findings The CO-validated prolonged abstinence rate at 52 weeks for smokers attending the groups was 5.6%, compared with 30.7% at 4 weeks (a relapse rate of 78.2%). The sample was particularly disadvantaged: 68% resided in the most deprived decile of the English Index of Multiple Deprivation. Higher socio-economic status within the sample was a predictor of quitting. Other predictors of long-term cessation in multivariate analysis included older age, being female, lower levels of nicotine dependence, having a live-in partner, stronger determination to quit and use of varenicline versus other medication.
Conclusions A wholly state-reimbursed clinical stop-smoking service providing behavioural support and medication in a region of high economic and social disadvantage has reached a significant proportion of the smoking population. Long-term success rates are lower than are found typically in clinical trials, but higher than would be expected if the smokers were to try and quit unaided. Research is needed into how to improve on the success rates achieved.