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STUDY FINDS COMBINED IN-PERSON AND TELEPHONE COUNSELING MORE EFFECTIVE THAN QUITLINE ALONE.
In a study published last week by the prestigious journal Preventive Medicine, researchers found that smokers who used both in-person and telephone quitline counseling were 32% more likely to be smoke-free at one year than those who used quitline counseling alone. “This is huge,” said Keiren O’Connell of Health Promotion Council, the organization responsible for reducing the rates of tobacco use in Southeast Pennsylvania, “In our region, we have been encouraging our community counselors to work hand-in-hand with the quitline vendor for years. This is scientific proof that our approach has been right all along. I’m happy for the people of Pennsylvania.”
Sarah Evers-Casey is a counselor who treats these patients, with a view toward long term support and integrated care. “Sometimes I can deal with issues in person that are impossible to deal with effectively over the phone. Things like depression, family dynamics, and educational level profoundly influence a person’s ability to stay quit, but are difficult to pick up on without a personal relationship with the patient.” “On the other hand,” she added “quitline counseling is more convenient for folks, and available at odd hours. I can see how working together might be the best of both worlds.”
“This work is especially important during this time of increasing fiscal pressures to reduce public health funding” said Frank Leone MD, Director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Smoking Treatment Program and member of the Governor’s Advisory Panel on Tobacco Control and Cessation. “It’s sometimes difficult for policy makers to make evidence-based decisions about the best way to allocate scarce resources. This work affirms the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s commitment to supporting a wide range of cessation resources in order to increase access to high quality, cost-effective care for the people of the Commonwealth.”
“Every day, more people die from tobacco-related illness in Pennsylvania than from any other cause,” said Judy Ochs, Director of the Division of Tobacco Prevention, Pennsylvania Department of Health. “Of course, we’re not going to sit by and watch it happen. Pennsylvania has been out in front, tackling this problem head-on by offering combination in-person and quitline resources to our citizens since 1997.”
For more information about this study, it’s potential implications on Pennsylvania’s budget, or the nature of combination nicotine dependence treatment, contact: