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Prev Med Rep. 2016 Oct 29;4:597-600. eCollection 2016 Dec.

Choice of smoking cessation counselling via phone, text, or email in emergency department patients.

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University of British Columbia, 2329 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6T 1Z4.


Globally, tobacco smoke is the leading cause of preventable deaths. Smoking cessation counselling services are widely available in Canada. In British Columbia, our government-funded smoking cessation service offers counselling via phone, text, or email. In this study, we sought to determine whether age, gender, or motivation to quit affect a patient's choice of service modality. We included all adults ≥ 18 years who had used tobacco within 30 days prior to their Emergency Department (ED) visit and who chose to receive phone, text, or email counselling services from November 2011-February 2013 at Vancouver General Hospital as part of a randomized-controlled trial (, NCT0145437). A one-way ANOVA was used to compare the mean age of patients in each group. Chi-squared tests of independence were used to determine if gender or motivation to quit were associated with modality selection. In total, 368 patients were included. The average age was 41.7 years and 67% were female. In our study, 44% chose phone, 17% chose text, and 40% chose email services. The average age for patients preferring text services (mean = 33.6 years) was significantly lower than both the email (mean = 41.3 years) and phone (mean = 45.1 years) groups (p < 0.001). Gender and motivation to quit were not associated with service modality choice. Over 80% of ED smokers who accepted a referral to counselling services chose the phone or email modality. The lesser chosen text modality was more popular with younger patients. With further research, smoking cessation counselling services can refine their programs to meet the needs of the population they serve.


Health promotion; Primary prevention; Smoking cessation

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