The effectiveness of NHS smoking cessation services: a systematic review

Linda Bauld, K Bell, L McCullough, L Richardson, L Greaves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Citations (SciVal)


Objectives: To analyse evidence on the effectiveness of intensive NHS treatments for smoking cessation in helping smokers to quit.

Methods: A systematic review of studies published between 1990 and 2007. Electronic databases were searched for published studies. Unpublished reports were identified from the national research register and experts.

Results: Twenty studies were included. They suggest that intensive NHS treatments for smoking cessation are effective in helping smokers to quit. The national evaluation found 4-week carbon monoxide monitoring validated quit rates of 53%, falling to 15% at 1 year. There is some evidence that group treatment may be more effective than one-to-one treatment, and the impact of ‘buddy support’ varies based on treatment type. Evidence on the effectiveness of in-patient interventions is currently very limited. Younger smokers, females, pregnant smokers and more deprived smokers appear to have lower short-term quit rates than other groups.

Conclusion: Further research is needed to determine the most effective models of NHS treatment for smoking cessation and the efficacy of those models with subgroups. Factors such as gender, age, socio-economic status and ethnicity appear to influence outcomes, but a current lack of diversity-specific analysis of results makes it impossible to ascertain the differential impact of intervention types on particular subpopulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


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