Smoking :: Quitting smoking – a time in hospital can be a good time to start

For many people, going in to hospital provides an opportunity to stop smoking. A Cochrane Systematic Review has found that the chance of successfully quitting can be enhanced if patients receive smoking cessation counselling during their stay, and then have at least one month of supportive contact after going home.

Because hospitals are now smoke-free, any smoker has to stop temporarily while in hospital. People who are in hospital, especially those with smoking-related illnesses, are often highly receptive to the suggestion that they should try and break their habit.

Consequently, they are a natural group of people to consider targeting with interventions that help them achieve this goal. Research carried out for the Cochrane Collaboration shows that this package of therapy can help smokers who go in to hospital for all conditions, even those that are not related to tobacco addiction.

This conclusion came from work that drew data from 33 trials involving a total of over 5600 people. The research showed that only intensive interventions with at least 30 minutes of counselling in the hospital and at least one-month of additional supportive care after the stay show any significant benefit; anything less, and the therapy tends to be ineffective.

They also found that adding nicotine replacement therapy or bupropion to intensive treatment plans had some additional effect in helping people stop smoking over providing the intensive counselling alone, although the difference was not statistically significant.

?High intensity behavioural interventions that begin during a hospital stay and include at least one month of supportive contact after discharge promote smoking cessation among hospitalised patients,? says lead researcher Nancy Rigotti, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of Tobacco Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA.

?There is no evidence that less intensive counselling interventions, particularly those that do not continue after hospital discharge, are effective in promoting smoking cessation,? says Rigotti.

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