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GPs key to smoking cessation success

Smoking cessation services in England vary dramatically in quality but are significantly more successful if GPs take on a central role, Government-funded research has shown.

Study co-author Dr Tim Coleman, senior lecturer in general practice at the University of Nottingham and a GP in the city, said: 'Services that had established a system of working with local GPs to prescribe bupropion, and combined it with support from a trained adviser, demonstrated higher reported quit rates at four weeks.'

One factor could be that GPs were more likely to pick up smokers who were motivated to quit, he added.

The study of 76 of the former English health authorities, published in Tobacco Control (September), showed the number of smokers who had successfully quit at four weeks varied 221-fold between areas.

GPs must generate an average of 10 referrals or self-referrals per 100 smokers per year to meet the Government target of 800,000 smokers successfully quitting at the four-week stage by 2006.

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