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J Clin Epidemiol. 1999 Jan;52(1):83-9.

Comparing participants and nonparticipants in a smoking cessation trial: selection factors associated with general practitioner recruitment activity.

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Dipartimento di Oncologia, CPO-Piemonte, Torino, Italy.


We studied the relationship between smokers' sociodemographic characteristics, their smoking habit, health status, and the probability of their having been approached for recruitment in the smoking cessation trial performed in Turin, Italy, with the aim of gathering information on the role of selection criteria adopted by general practitioners (GPs) in offering anti-smoking counseling. The 965 smokers who were offered participation in the trial were matched to a sample of eligible smokers (n = 277), selected from the rosters of the 42 GPs collaborating in the trial, who had not been invited to participate. The probability of being offered enrollment, estimated through a multiple conditional logistic regression model, assuming the GP as the matching variable, was significantly increased for intermediate (10-19 cigarettes per day: odds ratio [OR] = 4.13; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.63-6.47) and heavy (20 cigarettes per day or more: OR = 10.12; 95% CI: 6.51-15.75) smokers, for smokers diagnosed with chronic cardiovascular (OR = 2.06; 95% CI: 1.19-3.58), or respiratory (OR = 2.50; 95% CI: 1.40-4.48) diseases, and for smokers mentioning an intermediate number (2-4) of past quit attempts (OR = 3.70; 95% CI: 2.18-6.28). General Practitioners focused their recruitment activity on higer-risk smokers or smokers who had tried to quit, to offer more clues for intervention. Assessing the potential public health benefit of preventive interventions requires a more systematic evaluation of the generalizability of the reported findings.

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