At two chest clinics 1206 cigarette smokers referred by their general practitioners for chest radiography only either were dealt with in the normal way or in addition were given a How to Stop Smoking booklet by the clinic receptionist or nurse. Follow up one year later showed that 3.2% of all patients had successfully given up smoking, older patients doing better than younger ones and men doing better than women. Overall 3.9% of the group receiving a booklet were successful compared with 2.7% of the controls (p = 0.14). At one clinic the groups were not well matched for age but at the other, where there was no such imbalance, there was a suggestion that the booklet group did better than the controls (6.5% v 2.7% success), although the difference did not achieve conventional statistical significance (p = 0.09). If this can be confirmed as a real effect then this cheap, simple strategy could easily be applied on a large scale.
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