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distance learning, interventions, nurses, quit line, smoking cessation, tobacco use



  1. Sarna, Linda
  2. Bialous, Stella A.
  3. Ong, Michael K.
  4. Wells, Marjorie
  5. Kotlerman, Jenny


Background: Smokers who make a quit attempt during hospitalization have improved long-term abstinence if they receive follow-up support, including via a telephone quitline, a free resource in the United States. Smokers are referred infrequently to this resource by healthcare providers.


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a Web-based educational program (Helping Smokers Quit) on translating the Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence Clinical Practice Guideline: 2008 Update into practice. Using a Web-based survey, frequency of nurses' self-reported referral of smokers to a quitline and performance of the components of a smoking cessation intervention (the 5As: Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange) was compared with self-reported performance among nurses who received printed educational materials (control group) at 6 months.


Methods: Nurses from 30 (n = 15 control and n = 15 intervention) randomly selected and assigned hospitals from California, Indiana, and West Virginia participated. Both groups received a toolkit of materials including a state quitline card and access to the Tobacco Free Nurses Web site; the intervention group had additional access to a project-specific Web page and the opportunity to attend a webinar. Only nurses who completed baseline and 6-month surveys were included in the analysis. Mean improvement of the 5As and refer scores and logistic regressions of consistent (usually or always) referral to a quitline were used to examine differences over time by group.


Results: Pre-post data were collected for 333 nurses (209 intervention, 124 control). Mean improvement was significantly higher in Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange, and Referral to a Quitline for the Help Smokers Quit group. Nurses in the control group significantly improved in Advise and Referral to a Quitline. Consistent referral was most likely in the intervention group (OR = 1.74, 95% CI [1.11, 2.72]), especially among those who viewed the webinar (OR = 2.34, 95% CI [1.03, 4.23]).


Discussion: After 6 months, nurses in the intervention group had significant improvement in the frequency of interventions and consistency of referral of smokers to the quitline. The improvement of nurses' referral to the quitline among the control group who only received printed materials demonstrates that both are effective strategies in increasing awareness of this resource.