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The World Health Organisation and the International Agency against Cancer in 1988 published joint guidelines on smoking cessation for primary health care teams. A booklet entitled Help Your Patient Stop was produced in the United Kingdom as a model for the international dissemination of these guidelines. This booklet was sent to UK general practitioners by post; about 4 weeks later, a random sample of 5000 were asked to complete a postal questionnaire about the booklet and their smoking habits. The response rate was 75%. About half (50·5%) remembered receiving the booklet, 27·7% had read it, and only 8·8% could write down any of the three essential activities in smoking cessation which the booklet was intended to promote and which were printed in bold letters on the inside back cover. Although the booklet itself might be an adequate model for other countries, unless dissemination and marketing of the information it contains can be improved, its achievement will be limited. However, the survey did have one optimistic feature: only 13·5% of general practitioners reported that they smoke; and only a third of those who gave full details of their smoking habit smoke cigarettes. © 1989.

Original publication




Journal article


The Lancet

Publication Date





1253 - 1255