Proactive tobacco cessation outreach to smokers of lowsocioeconomic status a randomized clinical trial

Jennifer S. Haas*, A. Linder Jeffrey, R. Park Elyse, Gonzalez Irina, A. Rigotti Nancy, V. Klinger Elissa, Z. Kontos Emily, M. Zaslavsky Alan, Brawarsky Phyllis, X. Marinacci Lucasc, S. Hubert Stella, W. Fleegler Eric, R. Williams David

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE Widening socioeconomic disparities in mortality in the United States are largely explained by slower declines in tobacco use among smokers of low socioeconomic status (SES) than among those of higher SES, which points to the need for targeted tobacco cessation interventions. Documentation of smoking status in electronic health records (EHRs) provides the tools for health systems to proactively offer tobacco treatment to socioeconomically disadvantaged smokers. OBJECTIVE To evaluate a proactive tobacco cessation strategy that addresses sociocontextual mediators of tobacco use for low-SES smokers. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS This prospective, randomized clinical trial included low-SES adult smokers who described their race and/or ethnicity as black, Hispanic, or white and received primary care at 1 of 13 practices in the greater Boston area (intervention group, n = 399; control group, n = 308). INTERVENTIONS We analyzed EHRs to identify potentially eligible participants and then used interactive voice response (IVR) techniques to reach out to them. Consenting patients were randomized to either receive usual care from their own health care team or enter an intervention program that included (1) telephone-based motivational counseling, (2) free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for 6 weeks, (3) access to community-based referrals to address sociocontextual mediators of tobacco use, and (4) integration of all these components into their normal health care through the EHR system. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Self-reported past-7-day tobacco abstinence 9 months after randomization ("quitting"), assessed by automated caller or blinded study staff. RESULTS The intervention group had a higher quit rate than the usual care group (17.8%vs 8.1%; odds ratio, 2.5; 95%CI, 1.5-4.0; number needed to treat, 10).We examined whether use of intervention components was associated with quitting among individuals in the intervention group: individuals who participated in the telephone counseling were more likely to quit than those who did not (21.2%vs 10.4%; P < .001). There was no difference in quitting by use of NRT. Quitting did not differ by a request for a community referral, but individuals who used their referral were more likely to quit than those who did not (43.6%vs 15.3%; P < .001). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Proactive, IVR-facilitated outreach enables engagement with low-SES smokers. Providing counseling, NRT, and access to community-based resources to address sociocontextual mediators among smokers reached in this setting is effective..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-226
Number of pages9
JournalJAMA internal medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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