13 Aug Proactive Intervention Program May Help Chinese Men Quit Smoking
Smoking cessation services are not available in China due to high costs and limited interest from smokers who have no intention to quit. A simple, low-cost, proactive intervention program may help Chinese men quit smoking.
China, the world’s largest cigarette market, is to some degree kicking the habit. While figures from Euromonitor International showed 2.4 trillion cigarettes were smoked last year, that marks the second straight annual decline. China has been raising taxes and toughening anti-smoking laws, and Euromonitor expects the numbers to keep dropping — at an average rate of 2.3 percent annually — through 2021.
The 2010 Global Adult Tobacco Survey in China reported that about half of Chinese men were current smokers, and nearly two-thirds of these had no intention to quit. Although smoking cessation services, such as clinics and telephone quitlines, are well-established in many developed countries, they are not available in China due to the high costs of provision. Similarly, expensive smoking cessation medications are not widely prescribed. In addition, these interventions do not attract smokers who have no intention to quit smoking.
Simple proactive behavioral interventions are likely to be the most useful strategy to reduce smoking in China. One study in Guangzhou China reported that a 30-second smoking cessation intervention by physicians could increase quitting. There have only been a few trials on the effectiveness of interventions without medication in smokers who expressed no intention to quit. The findings of these have been inconsistent. Researchers in Beijing, China, conducted a trial of a simple proactive behavioral intervention program on Chinese male smokers who had no intention to quit. They reported their findings in the journal ADDICTION.
Male patients attending the Endocrinology and Acupuncture Outpatient Clinics were asked about their smoking status and intention to quit. Current smokers with no intention to quit were randomly assigned either to the Smoking Reduction Intervention (SRI) group or the Exercise and Diet Advice (EDA) group. The SRI group received a 1 minute face-to-face interview with physicians on the health risks of smoking and advice on quitting. They had follow-up telephone calls from trained counsellors with further advice at 1 week and 1, 3, 6 and 12 months. No smoking cessation medications were prescribed. Patients in the EDA group were also given physician interviews and telephone follow-up, but the advice was related to exercise and diet, with no advice on smoking. The smoking status of both SRI and EDA groups was noted in a separate call 7 days after each follow-up (7-day point quitting/smoking status).