New preliminary evidence shows telehealth, or telephone-based smoking cessation counseling provided to smokers shortly after undergoing a lung cancer screening can be “effective at helping people stop smoking.”
Lead researcher, Kathryn L. Taylor, PhD, a behavioral scientist and a professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center noted that the short period after receiving a screening is a prime example of a “teachable moment,” adding, “When smokers are thinking about their health and may be ready to make a change – offering help makes a difference, and may help save lives.”
For those curious about how telephone-based counseling sessions work, the study provided participants with their first counseling session right after they received their screening results. Over the next three months, six 10-15 minute sessions were conducted. At the conclusion of the study, participants who said they had remained abstinent of smoking were given a nicotine saliva test to confirm their abstinence. “Researchers found that eight (17 percent) people in the telephone counseling group had verifiably quit, compared to two (4 percent) in the other group.”
According to the researchers, the study findings were “so promising that investigators have been funded through [National Institutes of Health (NIH)] to conduct a much larger study of telephone-based cessation counseling.” The addition of more study participants could help significantly increase a life-saving intervention mechanism.