Self-Help Booklets Help Smokers After Quitting

Study found relapses less likely when series of brochures were sent out

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FRIDAY, Oct. 22, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A series of self-help booklets helped people who recently quit smoking, according to a University of South Florida study in the October issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Researchers mailed a series of eight relapse-prevention booklets titled "Forever Free" to more than 400 participants who recently quit smoking and wanted additional help.

The study found that when all eight booklets were sent to people who quit within the previous six months, they were less likely to relapse during the following two years than members of a control group who only got a single booklet.

"Current research shows that among those who quit smoking, between 70 and 90 percent resume smoking the following year," said lead investigator Dr. Thomas Brandon, director of the Tobacco Research and Intervention Program at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. "Yet our study found that only 21 percent of participants who received the eight booklets relapsed at the two-year point."

The researchers said the booklets are a very cost-effective way to help people trying to quit smoking. The cost of typical smoking-cessation treatments can range between $1,000 and $5,000 per year of life saved, Brandon said. The booklets cost only $83 per year of life saved.

"In terms of the economics of extending life, there are few public health interventions that are as low cost as these simple booklets," Brandon said. "We hope managed-care organizations, as well as state and local health departments, will choose to adopt the booklets to give to new ex-smokers."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about how to quit smoking.

SOURCES: University of South Florida, news release, Oct. 18, 2004

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