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Recruitment of community pharmacies in a randomized trial to generate patient referrals to the tobacco quitline.

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Community pharmacies have the potential to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use, yet most pharmacies do not integrate cessation activities into routine practice.


The objective of this study was to describe the recruitment strategy and participant yield for a 2-state, randomized trial evaluating 2 intervention approaches for increasing pharmacy-based referrals to tobacco quitlines.


Detailed study recruitment tracking forms were used to document all contact attempts between the study investigators and each potential study site. These data were analyzed to characterize the overall recruitment and consent process for community pharmacies and pharmacy personnel (pharmacists, technicians).


Achieving the target sample size of 64 study sites required contacting a total of 150 pharmacies (84 independent and 66 chain). Excluding 22 ineligible pharmacies, participation rates were 49% (32 of 65) for independent pharmacies and 51% (32 of 63) for chain pharmacies (50% overall). Across the 64 participating pharmacies, a total of 124 pharmacists (of 171; 73%) and 127 pharmacy technicians (of 215; 59%) were enrolled in the study. Pharmacies that chose not to participate most often cited time constraints as the primary reason. Overall, combining both the recruitment and consent process, a median of 5 contacts were made with each participating pharmacy (range, 2-19; interquartile range [IQR], 4-7), and the median overall duration of time elapsed from initial contact to consent was 25 days (range, 3-122 days; IQR, 12-47 days).


Results from this study suggest that community pharmacy personnel are receptive to participation in multisite, tobacco cessation clinical research trials. However, execution of a representative sampling and recruitment scheme for a multistate study in this practice setting is a time- and labor-intensive process.

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