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  • 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2018
  • Project No: 344
  • Funding round: FR 13

Reducing the proportion of smokers is a public health goal but rates have reduced very slowly in the last decade, standing at around 18% of adults in England. Effective quitting support has been available, free-of-charge, in England since 2000 through NHS Stop Smoking Services (SSS), delivered in general practice / primary care and other settings. This involves face-to-face behavioural support plus access to medication. Around 40% of smokers try to quit each year. Those using SSS are around twice as likely to succeed as those who try unaided, but a minority of smokers (under 10%) take this up. Interventions aimed at increasing uptake of SSS have tried, among other things, to identify smokers through GP lists, including personalising invitations and providing more information about SSS, and using outreach workers to target specific groups. Convenient ‘distance’ alternatives, such as mobile phone-based self-help, have also been developed to try to reach smokers unlikely to use SSS. However, little is currently clear about what methods work best for increasing smokers’ uptake of support due to wide variation in the quality of research evidence, and it is unknown if different methods work better for different support types (e.g. face-to-face versus distance support). A systematic review is therefore needed to collate the evidence on ways that smokers’ uptake of SSS, and alternative quitting support, could be increased. This would inform future interventions to improve the uptake of effective quitting support, thereby maximising its public health impact.

We will review the evidence (worldwide) on interventions aimed at increasing the uptake of quitting support among smokers. Specific aims are to:

  • Determine which approaches work best for increasing the uptake of quitting support (including SSS).
  • Categorise findings by type of support (e.g. face-to-face versus distance).

Describe and, where possible, estimate the cost-effectiveness of different approaches to increasing uptake.

Amount awarded: £25,997

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.

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