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Behavioural support with multiplesessions of individual or group counselling aids smoking cessation.



There is no evidence from randomised trials suggesting a clear difference between individual and group-based counselling, so either may be offered. Both provide social support during the smoker's contact with a clinician (intra-treatment social support). From comparisons between studies, the components which are most likely to benefit smokers are support for problem solving and skills training. Whether contingency contracting, intervening to increase social support in the smoker's environment (extra-treatment social support), exercise, and aversive smoking are efficacious is unclear. As described below, combining behavioural and medication treatments increases efficacy. Unfortunately, many smokers do not seek face-to-face behavioural support.

Components of problem solving and skills training might include:

  1. Identifying triggers to smoking. Smokers may routinely light up after a meal, when they are on the telephone, or when feeling stressed.
  2. Making plans to avoid temptation to smoke, for example whether to avoid social situations with other smokers during the first period after quitting.
  3. Interventions that help smokers obtain social support outside treatment have been recommended by previous guidelines, but systematic reviews of trials adding components intended to help smokers increase social support have not detected a significant effect on quitting.



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Stead LF, Lancaster T. Group behaviour therapy programmes for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005; 2.

Lancaster T, Stead LF. Individual behavioural counselling for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005; 2.

Rice VH, Hartmann-Boyce J, Stead LF. Nursing interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD001188. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001188.pub4.

Park EW, Tudiver FG, Campbell T. Enhancing partner support to improve smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD002928. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002928.pub3.

May S, West R. Do social support interventions ("buddy systems") aid smoking cessation? A review. Tob Control. 2000; 9: 415-422.

Hiscock R, Murray S, Brose LS, McEwen A, Bee JL, Dobbie F, Bauld L. Behavioural therapy for smoking cessation: The effectiveness of different intervention types for disadvantaged and affluent smokers. Addictive Behaviors 2013 ; 38 (11):  2787-96.

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