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Nicotine Tob Res. 2013 Oct;15(10):1682-9. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntt040. Epub 2013 Apr 1.

Effectiveness of a health professional training program for treatment of tobacco addiction.

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  • 1Gregorio Marañón Health Center, Dirección Asistencial Oeste.



Advice can have a small but clinically important effect in promoting smoking cessation. Where studied, the rate of delivery has been found to be low. Training has been found to increases this rates, but there is little research on effectiveness in terms of smoking cessation rates. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an health professionals educational program to increase long-term rates of nicotine abstinence in smoking outpatients.


We conducted a pragmatic cluster-randomized, controlled trial in 35 primary health care centers in Spain. Participants were all 830 health professionals who attended 5,970 smokers during recruiting period. After that we measured continuous abstinence 6 months after the intervention and biochemically validated (saliva cotinine test) 1 year following intervention. Cost-effectiveness was measured in terms of cost per life year gained.


After 6 months, the rate of continuous abstinence was significantly higher in the intervention group (2.1% vs. 0.3%, p > .0001) with an odds ratio of 6.5 (95% CI = 3.3-12.7). After 1 year, biochemical validation was performed on 31 of the 67 patients previously registered as abstinent. All of them were abstinent and belonged to intervention group. The incremental cost per life year gained after 6 months was €969.


A primary care training program on smoking cessation based on scientific evidence, behavioral theory, and active learning methods increases long-term continuous nicotine abstinence rate among outpatients in a significant way. These may be relevant for planning training of professionals, clinical assistance, and public health programs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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