Physician antismoking advice has been shown to increase smoking cessation, particularly among patients who have medical problems or perceive themselves to be at risk. The present study tested three hypotheses: (a) providing 3 to 5 min of behavioral counseling regarding a cessation strategy would be more effective than simply warning the smoker to quit smoking; (b) smokers with abnormal pulmonary function would be more likely to comply with medical advice than would smokers with normal pulmonary function; and (c) that smokers with abnormal pulmonary function who receive behavioral counseling would be the group most likely to achieve prolonged abstinence. Asbestos-exposed smoking men undergoing screening in a mandated program for naval shipyard workers were categorized as having normal or abnormal pulmonary status on the basis of chest X ray and pulmonary function tests (PFT). They were then randomly assigned within PFT categories to receive either a simple warning or 3 to 5 min of behavioral cessation counseling from the physician who gave them the results of their pulmonary tests. Subjects' smoking status was evaluated at 3- and 11-month intervals following the physician intervention. Smokers who received behavioral counseling were more likely to quit and remain abstinent over the 11-month period (8.4% abstinent) than were smokers given a minimal warning (3.6% abstinent). Prolonged abstinence rates among abnormal PFT subjects (3.7%) did not differ from those of normals (5.9%). The group with normal PFT who received behavioral counseling achieved the highest level of abstinence (9.5%). Maintaining adequate physician compliance with the counseling protocol proved difficult; implications of this for future efforts are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health