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Prev Med. 1998 Sep-Oct;27(5 Pt 2):S61-70.

A self-help intervention for African American smokers: tailoring cancer information service counseling for a special population.

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  • 1Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, New Jersey, 08543, USA.



African Americans remain a critically underserved group for smoking cessation interventions. This study tested the effectiveness of a tailored, culturally sensitive intervention for African American smokers who called the NCI Cancer Information Service (CIS) for help to quit smoking.


This paper presents results of a 2-year study of tailored counseling strategies among African American smokers (n = 1,422) who called four regional CIS offices in response to a radio-based media campaign in 14 communities. Callers were randomly assigned to receive either the standard CIS quit smoking counseling and guide (Clearing the Air) or counseling and a guide (Pathways to Freedom) tailored to the quitting needs and barriers of African American smokers. Callers were predominantly female (63.6%). ages 20-49 (88%), with a high school education or more (84%). Median smoking history was 17 years; median smoking rate was 20 cigarettes/day. Standard (n = 689) and Tailored (n = 733) group subjects did not differ on most baseline measures.


On most measures, Standard and Tailored counseling/guides received similar ratings, but the Tailored guide was rated as having more appealing photos (P = 0.001) and as being more appropriate for family members (P = 0.003). Six-month follow-up with 893 subjects (response rates were 63% Standard, 62% Tailored, ns) showed significantly more quit attempts (P = 0.002) and greater use of prequitting strategies (P < 0.05) among Tailored than among Standard subjects, but no differences in self-reported 1-week abstinence (14.4% Standard, 16.2% Tailored) (ns). An opportunistic 12-month follow-up of subjects recruited in the last year of the study (n = 445) (response rates were 57% Standard, 60% Tailored, ns) showed a significantly higher quit rate (15.4% Standard, 25.0% Tailored) for Tailored subjects (P = 0.034).


Results show promise for tailored approaches to boost quit attempts and success rates among African American smokers.

Copyright 1998 American Health Foundation and Academic Press.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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