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  • Status:: In follow-up

Brief interventions to support the management of smoking in primary care: a randomised controlled trial.

Background and study aims

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable illness and death in England. Evidence shows that brief advice to stop smoking from a GP together with an immediate offer of support is effective at encouraging smokers to quit. Despite this, many people with smoking-related chronic illnesses continue to do so despite being repeatedly offered help to quit. For these ‘ hardcore’ smokers, alternative brief advice interventions need to be explored. Electronic cigarettes (‘e-cigarettes’) are increasingly used by smokers not seeking treatment, many of whom reduce smoking and stop without initially intending to do so. The aim of this study is to test an alternative approach to smoking management designed to support people who have a smoking-related illness reduce their smoking and quit.

Who can participate?

Adults aged 18 years or older who is a current smoker

What does the study involve?

GPs and nurses receive online training on how to give a brief advice intervention to smokers who do not want to stop but have a smoking-related illness. Patients who are smokers with a long-term condition attend their usual annual review appointment of their condition, where the GP or nurse discuss their smoking. Those who decline referral to NHS stop smoking services (SSS) and smoking cession medication are randomly allocated to one of two groups. Those in the first group receive nothing beyond the usual care already provided. Those in the second group are given brief advice and an offer to try an e-cigarette with technical support provided from an online help forum and telephone call-back service run by experienced e-cigarette users. Consultations are audio-recorded to see how well GPs and nurses followed the training and which communication strategies worked well. Participants are interviewed after taking part to see how they felt about being assisted in this way by their GP or nurse. The study will look at whether more people stop or halve their smoking in the short-term.


Study Design: Individually randomised, two arm, parallel group study

University of Oxford

Ethical Approval:
Contact Details:

Chief Investigator:

Dr Rachna Begh