The largest and most authoritative research trial of its kind testing the Allen Carr's Easyway (ACE) method of quitting smoking has detected no difference in success rates between ACE and a specialist stop smoking service in the UK.
The research, conducted by the Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research (CABR) at London South Bank University (LSBU) and St George's, University of London, is published today in the academic journal Addiction.
ACE produced an abstinence rate six months after the target quit date of 19 per cent, compared with 15 per cent for the specialist service. This independently conducted randomised controlled trial had 620 participants, with 310 in ACE and 310 in the specialist service. Abstinence from smoking was verified by measuring carbon monoxide in the exhaled breath of participants.
The ACE method emphasises a drug-free approach to smoking cessation. ACE comprises a single (four and half to six hour long) group session with subsequent supportive text messages and top-up sessions if needed. It aims to convince smokers that smoking provides no benefits. In comparison, the standard treatment from the UK National Health Service focuses on nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or 'Champix' plus several weekly sessions of psychological support.
The results of the study reflect these different approaches: 91 per cent of specialist treatment participants who successfully quit used NRT, Champix or an e-cigarette. In contrast, in the ACE group, only 13 per cent of those who successfully quit used these products.
Professor Daniel Frings, from the research team, said "In a gold-standard randomised controlled trial, we observed levels of smoking quit rates indistinguishable from a specialist intervention combining 1-1 psychological support with NRT. These findings offer compelling support for the efficacy of the ACE method for smoking cessation."
Evaluating the effectiveness of the ACE method is important as it offers a drug-free method of smoking cessation that can be delivered in group therapy sessions. As such, it may offer a viable cost-effective additional treatment option in public/funded healthcare settings.
Peer reviewed: Yes
Type of study: Randomised controlled trial
Subject of study: People
This paper is free to download from the Wiley Online Library: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.14897 (after the embargo has lifted) or by contacting Jean O'Reilly, Editorial Manager, Addiction, email@example.com, tel +44 (0)20 7848 0452.
To speak with lead author Professor Daniel Frings: contact him at London South Bank University by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or telephone (+44 (0) 2078155888). For the quickest response, please email.
Full citation for article: Frings D, Albery IP, Moss AC, Brunger H, Burghela M, White S, and Wood KV (2020) Comparison of Allen Carr's Easyway programme with a specialist behavioural and pharmacological smoking cessation support service: A randomised controlled trial. Addiction 115: doi: 10.1111/add.14897
Funder: Funding was provided by Allen Carr's Easyway International Ltd (http://www.allencarr.com), which had no role in the study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the report. To speak with John Dicey, Global CEO, Allen Carr's Easyway, contact him by email (email@example.com) or telephone (+44 (0)7970 88 44 52).
Addiction is a monthly international scientific journal publishing peer-reviewed research reports on alcohol, substances, tobacco, and gambling as well as editorials and other debate pieces. Owned by the Society for the Study of Addiction, it has been in continuous publication since 1884. Addiction is the number one journal in the 2018 ISI Journal Citation Reports ranking in the substance abuse category (science edition).
London South Bank University (LSBU): Since 1892, LSBU has been providing higher quality professional and technical education that transforms lives, businesses and communities /http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/
Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research (CABR): CABR brings together a unique blend of world-class research, scholarship, training and enterprise activity to understand the psychosocial causes, effects and treatments of addictive behaviours. http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/research/centres-groups/addictive-behaviours)
St George's, University of London: The UK's specialist health university, shaping modern health with transformative research, expert teaching and hands-on learning https://www.sgul.ac.uk/about-us/what-we-do