BACKGROUND:Primary care is the most important point of healthcare contact for smokers. Brief physician advice to quit, based on the 5As/AAR model, offers some efficacy but is inconsistently administered and has limited population impact. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) sampling, defined as provision of a brief NRT starter kit, when added to the 5As/AAR, is well-suited to primary care because it is simple, brief, and can be provided to all smokers. This article describes the design and methods of an ongoing comparative effectiveness trial testing standard care vs. standard care + NRT sampling within primary care. METHODS:Smokers were recruited directly from primary care practices between July 2014 and December 2017 within an established network of South Carolina clinics. Interventions were delivered randomly by clinic personnel, and phone-based follow-ups were centrally coordinated by research staff to track outcomes through six months post-intervention. Primary study aims are to examine the impact of NRT sampling on smoking, inclusive of cessation, quit attempts, and uptake of evidence-based treatment. RESULTS:Twenty-two clinics were recruited. Across clinics, patient census ranged from 985 to 10,957 and number of providers ranged from 1 to 63. Average patient age across clinics was 52.9 years and smoking prevalence across ranged from 10.6% to 28.5%. CONCLUSION:Improving the effectiveness and reach of brief interventions within primary care could have a considerable impact on population quit rates. We consider the advantages and disadvantages of key methodological decisions relevant to the design of future primary care-based cessation trials.
Contemp Clin Trials (Contemporary clinical trials)
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