(HealthDay News) — A postdischarge intervention including free medication results in higher rates of smoking cessation at six months, compared with standard discharge care among hospitalized adult smokers, according to a study published in the August 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Nancy A. Rigotti, MD, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues compared sustained care with standard care among 397 hospitalized daily smokers (mean age, 53 years; 48% male; 81% non-Hispanic whites) who wanted to quit smoking after discharge and received a tobacco dependence intervention in the hospital. Sustained care consisted of a postdischarge tobacco cessation intervention involving automated interactive voice response telephone calls and choice of free smoking cessation medication. Standard care consisted of recommendations for postdischarge pharmacotherapy and counseling.

The researchers found that the 198 patients randomized to sustained care used more counseling and more pharmacotherapy at each follow-up assessment than those assigned to standard care (199 patients). Sustained care was associated with higher biochemically validated seven-day tobacco abstinence at six months compared to standard care (26 vs. 15%; relative risk, 1.71; P=0.009; number needed to treat, 9.4). Higher self-reported continuous abstinence rates for six months after discharge were also seen with sustained care (27 vs. 16%; relative risk, 1.70; P=0.007).

“These findings, if replicated, suggest an approach to help achieve sustained smoking cessation after a hospital stay,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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