Active recruitment of smokers increases the reach of quitlines; however, some quitlines restrict proactive telephone counselling (i.e. counsellor-initiated calls) to smokers ready to quit within 30 days. Identifying characteristics associated with successful quitting by actively recruited smokers could help to distinguish those most likely to benefit from proactive telephone counselling. This study assessed the baseline characteristics of actively recruited smokers associated with prolonged abstinence at 4, 7 and 13 months and the proportion achieving prolonged abstinence that would miss out on proactive telephone counselling if such support was offered only to smokers intending to quit within 30 days at baseline.
Secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial in which the baseline characteristics associated with prolonged abstinence were examined.
New South Wales (NSW) community, Australia.
A total of 1562 smokers recruited at random from the electronic NSW telephone directory.
Baseline socio-demographic and smoking-related characteristics associated with prolonged abstinence at 4, 7 and 13 months post-recruitment.
Waiting more than an hour to smoke after waking and intention to quit within 30 days at baseline predicted five of the six prolonged abstinence measures. If proactive telephone counselling was restricted to smokers who at baseline intended to quit within 30 days, 53.8–65.9% of experimental group participants who achieved prolonged abstinence would miss out on telephone support.
Less addicted and more motivated smokers who are actively recruited to quitline support are more likely to achieve abstinence. Most actively recruited smokers reported no intention to quit within the next 30 days, but such smokers still achieved long-term abstinence.