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Smoking cessation promotion has no benefit

Heavy promotion of smoking cessation services does not improve quit rates, researchers warn.

While GP are being encouraged to be ever more proactive about pushing cessation on smokers, the new study suggests this may not be a good use of time and money.

In a study of more than 24 practices in Nottingham, 1,289 patients who were given encouragement to quit, contacted by phone and letter and invited to local services were no more likely to have successfully quit six months later than 1,551 patients who received usual care.

Dr Tim Coleman, a GP who co-authored the paper with smoking research colleagues at the University of Nottingham, said: 'At six months there was no difference in the mean proportion of smokers abstinent from smoking between groups. Promoting smoking cessation services to individual smokers was not an effective means of increasing cessation rates.'

The latest NICE draft guidelines, published on 11 May, suggest all health professionals should ensure their patients were 'reminded at every suitable opportunity of the health benefits of quitting'.

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