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Effectiveness of a mobile smoking cessation service in reaching elderly smokers and predictors of quitting

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Author(s): Abdullah Abu | Lam Tai-Hing | Chan Steve | Leung Gabriel | Chi Iris | Ho Winnie | Chan Sophia

Journal: BMC Geriatrics
ISSN 1471-2318

Volume: 8;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 25;
Date: 2008;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Different smoking cessation programmes have been developed in the last decade but utilization by the elderly is low. We evaluated a pilot mobile smoking cessation service for the Chinese elderly in Hong Kong and identified predictors of quitting. Methods The Mobile Smoking Cessation Programme (MSCP) targeted elderly smokers (aged 60 or above) and provided service in a place that was convenient to the elderly. Trained counsellors provided individual counselling and 4 week's free supply of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Follow up was arranged at 1 month by face-to-face and at 3 and 6 months by telephone plus urinary cotinine validation. A structured record sheet was used for data collection. The service was evaluated in terms of process, outcome and cost. Results 102 governmental and non-governmental social service units and private residential homes for the elderly participated in the MSCP. We held 90 health talks with 3266 elderly (1140 smokers and 2126 non-smokers) attended. Of the 1140 smokers, 365 (32%) received intensive smoking cessation service. By intention-to-treat, the validated 7 day point prevalence quit rate was 20.3% (95% confidence interval: 16.2%–24.8%). Smoking less than 11 cigarettes per day and being adherent to NRT for 4 weeks or more were significant predictors of quitting. The average cost per contact was US$54 (smokers only); per smoker with counselling: US$168; per self-reported quitter: US$594; and per cotinine validated quitter: US$827. Conclusion This mobile smoking cessation programme was acceptable to elderly Chinese smokers, with quit rate comparable to other comprehensive programmes in the West. A mobile clinic is a promising model to reach the elderly and probably other hard to reach smokers.
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