Feasibility of Using E-mail Counseling as Part of a Smoking-Cessation Program

Authors: Polosa, Riccardo; Russo, Cristina; Di Maria, Annalisa; Arcidiacono, Giuseppe; Morjaria, Jaymin B; Piccillo, Giovita A

Source: Respiratory Care, Volume 54, Number 8, August 2009 , pp. 1033-1039(7)

Publisher: The Journal Respiratory Care Company

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BACKGROUND: The need for more effective smoking-cessation interventions is firmly established. However, access to these services can be problematic in real life. E-mail messages may be a convenient alternative to deliver smoking-cessation interventions. The aim of this pilot study was to assess the effectiveness of incorporating tailored e-mail consultation messages in a smoking-cessation program for smokers willing to quit. METHODS: This pilot study examined the feasibility of integrating e-mail consultation messages in a smoking-cessation program for smokers willing to quit and with Internet access. At baseline, demographic data, smoking history and expired carbon monoxide (CO) levels were collected at a clinic visit. The subjects were provided with the specialist's e-mail address and instructed to prepare e-mail messages containing simple and clear information about their quitting progress. The counselor offered e-mail counseling throughout the smoking-cessation program. A 6-month follow-up visit was arranged, at which abstinence was reviewed. RESULTS: Of the 30 participants initially enrolled in the study, 21 (70%) attended the follow-up 6-month visit. E-mail counseling was more frequently offered (4‐8 times) to the participants who completed the study, compared to those lost to follow-up (1‐4 times). Comparisons with baseline exhaled CO values showed a significant within-group reduction at 6 months after smoking-cessation (P < .001) in the quitters, compared to smoking-cessation failures. Sustained smoking abstinence at 6 months was 37%. CONCLUSIONS: The integration of e-mail consultation counseling in a smoking-cessation intervention is feasible and effective. E-mail counseling as part of a smoking-cessation program warrants further evaluation.

Keywords: Internet; e-mail; office intervention; smoking-cessation; treatment

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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