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clinmed/1999120009v1 (December 17, 1999)
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Randomised controlled trial of cognitive behavioural therapy for smokers living in a deprived area of London
David F Marks, and Catherine M Sykes
Background The overall smoking rates in the United Kingdom have fallen over the last few decades. However they have barely fallen for the least advantaged adults.1 This paper compares the efficacy of smoking cessation advice in the form of a health promotion booklet with that of cognitive behavioural therapy for smokers in a deprived area of London.
Methods 260 self- and GP-referred smokers took part in a randomised controlled trial with follow up at 12 months. Participants were randomly allocated to either one session of cognitive behavioural therapy (the Quit For Life Programme) or smoking cessation advice based on a Health Education Authority booklet (Stopping Smoking Made Easier).
Findings Twenty-three of 116 participants (19.8%) receiving therapy were abstinent and 10 (8.6%) had reduced cigarette consumption by at least 25% of pre-treatment level. Six (5.8%) of 104 participants in the control group were abstinent and none had reduced consumption.
Interpretation. Health professionals trained in cognitive behavioural therapy are likely to have a bigger impact on reducing the number of people who smoke compared to those who only give advice on how to stop smoking.