Objective — To pilot and evaluate the Pro-Change adult smokers program in primary care settings. This interactive, multimedia computer program for adult smokers was backed up with a self-help manual and support from trained health care professionals. The program assesses individuals' readiness to change their smoking behaviour using the transtheoretical model. Key objectives of the pilot were to widen access to support for smoking cessation and to engage low income and unemployed smokers in smoking cessation attempts.
Methods — Quantitative analysis of use of the computer program supplemented by qualitative research. In-depth interviews, focus groups and telephone interviews were performed with stakeholders (six), Pro-Change advisers (10) and a self-selected sample of clients (20).
Setting — The pilot was conducted in one area of England in the settings of one community pharmacy and three general medical practices between October 1999 and March 2000.
Key findings — Of the 258 people who accessed the program during the six-month pilot, 159 did so in the community pharmacy and 99 in the general medical practices. Program users included a large proportion of people on low incomes and without work. Pro-Change was well-received by clients and stakeholders. There were some issues in accessing the system in the general medical practices, where an appointment was necessary and the service was only available for part of the time. One hundred and twenty-four of the system users set a quit date, 92 (74 per cent) of whom were followed up at four weeks post quit date and 51 (41 per cent) reported that they had stopped smoking.
Conclusions — Pro-Change reached the target audience of low-income smokers. Most stakeholders, advisers and clients valued the computer program; it brought a new dimension to local smoking cessation services. Siting Pro-Change in the community pharmacy widened access compared with provision in general practices alone. Self-reported quit rates were comparable to other reported studies.