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In person behavioural support with multiple sessions of individual or group counselling aids smoking cessation.

There is no evidence from randomised trials suggesting a clear difference between individual and group-based counselling, so either may be offered. Both provide social support during the smoker’s contact with a clinician or counsellor (intra-treatment social support) and training in skills that aid abstinence. From comparisons between studies, the components which are most likely to benefit smokers include problem solving and skills training. Whether contingency contracting, intervening to increase social support in the smoker’s environment (extra-treatment social support), and exercise interventions are efficacious is unclear. As described below, combining behavioural and medication treatments increases efficacy. Unfortunately, very few smokers seek face-to-face behavioural support.

Components of problem solving and skills training might include identifying triggers to smoking, removing tobacco from the house, and making plans to avoid temptation to smoke. Stressing the importance of total abstinence after quitting, reviewing past quitting experiences, and limiting or eliminating alcohol use in the post-quit period also appear to be effective components of support.

Interventions that help smokers obtain social support outside treatment have been recommended by previous guidelines, but systematic reviews of trials adding components intended to help smokers increase social support have not detected a significant effect on quitting.

Fiore MC, Jaén CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. May 2008.

Stead LF, Lancaster T. Group behaviour therapy programmes for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005; 2.

Lancaster T, Stead LF. Individual behavioural counselling for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005; 2.

Rice VH, Hartmann-Boyce J, Stead LF. Nursing interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD001188. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001188.pub4.

Park EW, Tudiver FG, Campbell T. Enhancing partner support to improve smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD002928. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002928.pub3.

May S, West R. Do social support interventions ("buddy systems") aid smoking cessation? A review. Tob Control. 2000; 9: 415-422.

Hiscock R, Murray S, Brose LS, McEwen A, Bee JL, Dobbie F, Bauld L. Behavioural therapy for smoking cessation: The effectiveness of different intervention types for disadvantaged and affluent smokers. Addictive Behaviors 2013 ; 38 (11):  2787-96. logo
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