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Outcomes of a randomized trial evaluating two approaches for promoting pharmacy-based referrals to the tobacco quitline.

  • Author(s): Hudmon, Karen Suchanek;
  • Corelli, Robin L;
  • de Moor, Carl;
  • Zillich, Alan J;
  • Fenlon, Christine;
  • Miles, Lyndsay;
  • Prokhorov, Alexander V;
  • Zbikowski, Susan M
  • et al.


To evaluate the long-term impact of 2 promising intervention approaches to engage pharmacy personnel (pharmacists, technicians) in referring patients who want to quit smoking to the tobacco quitline.


Randomized trial.


Community pharmacies in Connecticut (n = 32) and Washington (n = 32).


Two intervention approaches were evaluated: academic detailing (AD), which involved on-site training for pharmacy staff about the quitline, versus mailed quitline materials (MM).

Main outcome measures

Changes in the overall percentage of quitline registrants who reported hearing about the quitline from any pharmacy during the 6-month baseline monitoring period versus the 12-month intervention period, and between-group comparisons of a) the number of quitline registrants who reported hearing about the quitline from one of the study pharmacies during the 12-month intervention period, and b) the number of quitline cards and brochures distributed to patients during the first 6 months of the intervention period.


The percentage of quitline callers who reported having heard about the quitline from a pharmacy increased significantly, from 2.2% during the baseline monitoring period to 3.8% during the 12-month intervention (P < 0.0001). In addition, comparisons controlled for seasonal effects also revealed significant increases in referrals. Across all 64 pharmacies, 10,013 quitline cards and 4755 brochures were distributed. The number of quitline cards distributed and the number registrants who reported hearing about the quitline from a pharmacy did not differ by intervention approach (AD vs. MM), although AD pharmacies distributed more quitline brochures (P = 0.022).


Brief cessation interventions are feasible in community pharmacies, and the 2 approaches evaluated for engaging pharmacy personnel were similarly effective and collectively led to meaningful increases in the number and proportion of all patients who called the quitline. Involvement of community pharmacy personnel in tobacco cessation presents a significant opportunity to promote quitline services by connecting patients with an effective publicly available resource.

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