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Low-Cost Intervention Helps Smokers Quit After Hospital Discharge — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
August 20, 2014

Low-Cost Intervention Helps Smokers Quit After Hospital Discharge

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by Lorenzo Di Francesco, MD, FACP, FHM

An intervention that combines free smoking cessation medication with automated telephone calls can help smokers quit after hospital discharge, a JAMA study finds.

Some 400 hospitalized smokers who wanted to quit were randomized to receive sustained care or standard care after discharge. With sustained care, patients received a free smoking cessation medication of their choice (up to 90 days' supply), plus five automated phone calls over 90 days that provided support and advice and allowed participants to request return calls from counselors as needed. With standard care, patients received a recommendation for a smoking cessation product plus encouragement to call a free quit line.

At 6 months post-discharge, biochemically validated abstinence was achieved by significantly more sustained-care versus standard-care patients (26% vs. 15%). For sustained care, the hospital's cost per quit was $4910 in year one (including costs for training and phone system development) and $2670 in later years.

The authors conclude: "These findings, if replicated, suggest a translatable, low-cost approach to achieving sustained smoking cessation after a hospital stay."

Reader Comments (1)

J ROSS HESTER Other Healthcare Professional, Psychiatry, Edcom Associates Holistic Health
Competing Interests: I have been both a PA and hypnotist since 1997 and have helped hundreds become independent of tobacco.

I don't consider the costs cited particularly low since most of my hypnosis colleagues and I will do it for $300 or less per quit, but I am impressed that third parties are sufficiently motivated to saving patients from tobacco to spend this kind of money on automated systems.

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