Background: Previous studies have found that offering additional callback counseling support to smokers calling a telephone quit line increases quit rates. However, what is less certain is the most cost-efficient protocol for offering such a service.
Objective: This study compares the efficacy of offering 2 versus 4 counseling callbacks after an initial call from Medicaid/uninsured adult smokers contacting the New York State Smokers' Quit Line (NYSSQL). Outcomes compared are the 7- and 30-day nonsmoker prevalence rates measured at 3-month follow-up and the cost per quit.
Design: A 2-group randomized trial was conducted.
Setting and Participants: The study population included 1923 adult (18+ years) Medicaid/uninsured current smokers (10+ cigarettes per day) who called the NYSSQL between February and March 2009 seeking help to stop smoking. At the time of the study, the NYSSQL provided Medicaid/uninsured callers with up to 6 weeks of free nicotine medications and up to 4 counseling callbacks. Half the subjects were randomized to standard care with up to 4 counseling callbacks with the remaining subjects offered only 2 counseling callbacks. All participants were sent a minimum of a 2-week supply of nicotine replacement therapy, with some receiving up to 6 weeks. Participants were recontacted 3 months after enrollment in the study to assess smoking status.
Main Outcome Measures: Quit rates, total counseling callbacks completed, reductions in cigarette consumption, and cost per quit measures.
Results: There was not a significant difference between study groups in the number of callbacks completed. There was also no difference in 7- or 30-day nonsmoker prevalence rates measured after 3 months' follow-up or reported use of the free nicotine replacement therapy between those assigned to either the 2- or 4-callback protocols. The cost per quit was essentially the same in both groups (2 callbacks—$442 per quit vs 4 callbacks—$445 per quit).
Conclusion: There was no advantage in terms of quit success or cost to offering up to 4 callbacks instead of 2 callbacks.