This conclusion comes from an updated Cochrane Systematic Review that considered the evidence of 48 trials that met stringent inclusion criteria.
"In updating the review we have distinguished between the different ways that telephone services were delivered and the differences in the participants," says lead Review Author Lindsay Stead, who works in the Department of Primary Health Care at Oxford University.
People who received repeated calls from a counsellor increase their odds of stopping by 50% compared to smokers who only receive self-help materials and/or receive brief counselling. Three or more calls seem to be particularly effective.
"Telephone quitlines provide an important route of access to support for smokers, and call-back counseling enhances their usefulness," says Stead.
Notes for editors
1. Review Paper: Stead LF, Perera R, Lancaster T. Telephone counselling for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD002850. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002850.pub2.
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