Pharmacists are uniquely positioned within the community to provide smoking cessation counseling to their patients. However, pharmacists experience significant barriers to providing counseling, including limited time, reimbursement, and training in counseling techniques. We tested a computer-driven software system, “Exper_Quit” (EQ), that provided individually tailored interventions to patients who smoke and matching tailored reports for pharmacists to help guide cessation counseling.
A two-phase design was used to recruit an observation-only group (OBS; n = 100), followed by participants (n = 200) randomly assigned to receive either EQ-assisted pharmacist counseling or EQ plus 8 weeks of nicotine transdermal patch (EQ+). Both treatment groups were scheduled to receive two follow-up counseling calls from pharmacists.
Most participants in the EQ and EQ+ groups reported receiving counseling from a pharmacist, including follow-up calls, while none of the OBS participants reported speaking with the pharmacist about cessation. At 6 months, fewer OBS participants reported a quit attempt (42%) compared with EQ (76%) or EQ+ (65%) participants (p < .02). At 6 months, 7-day point-prevalence abstinence was 28% and 15% among the EQ+ and EQ groups, respectively, compared with 8% among OBS participants (p < .01), and EQ+ participants were twice as likely to be quit than were EQ participants (p < .01).
A tailored software system can facilitate the delivery of smoking cessation counseling to pharmacy patients. Results suggest that EQ was successful in increasing (a) the delivery of cessation counseling, (b) quit attempts, and (c) quit rates. Pharmacists can play an important role in the effective delivery of smoking cessation counseling.