Healthcare Tips

Telephone counseling effective in helping people give up smoking

August 03, 2020

Just four telephone counseling calls can make a difference in whether snuff users kick the habit three and six months later, new research suggests.

A study published in the American Journal of Health Behavior compared quit rates between male snuff users who received the telephone counseling and those who only received a self-help manual on giving up smokeless tobacco.

Men who received the phone calls were significantly more likely three and six months later to say that they had given up tobacco, according to Raymond Boyle, Ph.D., M.P.H., and colleagues at HealthPartners Research Foundation.

Six months after the study, 40 percent of those who received the calls had quit using snuff, compared to 25 percent of those who received the manual only.

"This is an important finding as it demonstrates that adult male moist snuff users are willing to quit and can be engaged when the telephone is the intervention vehicle," Boyle says.

Unlike some previous studies, which suggest that older snuff users and those who are less dependent on tobacco are most likely to quit, the telephone intervention appeared to work across all age groups and for heavy users, the researchers found.

The study included 221 men ages 18 and older who had used moist snuff or chewing tobacco for at least six months and who were not smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes. The 221 men were then randomly assigned to receive either the phone or manual-only counseling.

Boyle and colleagues say their study suggests that smokeless tobacco counseling should be added to state-funded smoking quit lines.

"With appropriate staff training, users of moist snuff products can be assisted through telephone quit lines, particularly in regions with higher prevalence of use," the researchers say.

The study was supported by the National Cancer Institute.

Health Behavior News Service: (202) 387-2829 or hbns.
Interviews: Raymond Boyle at Raymond.G.BoyleHealthPartners.
American Journal of Health Behavior: Visit www.ajhb or e-mail

Center for the Advancement of Health
Contact: Ira R. Allen
Director of Public Affairs

By Becky Ham, Science Writer
Health Behavior News Service