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Hospital stay helps smokers quit

17th July 2007

Hospital inpatients are less likely to give up giving up, US researchers have revealed.

A systematic review by the Cochrane Collaboration assessed the effectiveness of smoking cessation programmes implemented within the hospital environment.

Researchers concluded that being in hospital heightens patient awareness of the health risks associated with smoking.

The 14,500 participants of the study received counselling in sessions ranging from less than five minutes to an hour.

Intervention involving a minimum of 30 minutes counselling and post-discharge telephone calls to offer support was categorised as "intensive".

Those who were given "intensive" help were 65 per cent more likely to have kicked the habit six to 12 months following discharge.

Less intensive intervention had no effect.

Nancy Rigotti, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said that the smoke-free environment is "critical".

"When people can't smoke for several days, they begin to understand that they can live without cigarettes. Taking advantage of this jump-start helps them to stay quit after leaving the hospital."

In addition, the Cochrane review found that combining nicotine replacement with counselling increased the success of hospital programmes.