In fact these moderate quit rates are substantially higher than health care interventions (Salize et al., 2009; Wang et al., 2009).
Psychological interventions such as support groups, counseling sessions, and guided quit plans have been proven most effective when coupled with pharmacological interventions (Huang, 2005). Cessation programs need to be interactive and engage the participant in the treatment process as well as identifying individual characteristics that have led to the smoking behavior and tailoring interventions to meet these needs (Rovina et al., 2009). Those programs that emphasized lectures, consultations, and group discussions were found to have a 40% quit rate with the majority of participants failing to reduce their daily cigarette consumption (Huang, 2005). Smoking cessation programs also exist in the workplace and focus on self-efficacy and social support achieved a 19% participant quit rate (Huang, 2005). Programs that utilized pharmacological interventions alone such as the transdermal nicotine patch have achieved smoking cessation rates of 30% at the one year marker (Huang, 2005).
Given the individual successes of these programs, researchers have begun to explore the efficacy of combining psychological and behavioral interventions with pharmacological treatments. Informal interventions have also shown increase the likelihood of smoking cessation. Increasing technological advances have also led to the use of interventions such as telephone and email counseling to support smoking cessation efforts (Polosa et al., 2009). Polosa et al. (2009) utilized an unrestricted e-mail counseling approach to provide smokers with assistance in cessation efforts. This method was found to be particularly useful in its ability to provide smokers with prompt assistance that prevents relapse and has been shown to increase the level of participant communication and interaction in the treatment process (Polosa et al., 2009). These technological advances have allowed for an increase in cost effective and individualized service delivery (Polusa et al., 2009).
Future research into the efficacy of smoking cessation programs should emphasize long-term programs for preventing relapse as well as the evaluation of permanent cessation effects on participants. Increased awareness of the smoking cessation process and how individuals experience it will be helpful for healthcare professionals who have found themselves frustrated with the lack of progress and success of smoking cessation programs. The ability to design programs that incorporate pharmacology with other interpersonal based interventions will continue to be important as smoking cessation endeavors progress. Further, there is significant literature to support short-term health benefits of smoking cessation and it would be important to have an equal understanding of the long-term health implications.
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