Smoking support program for Boorowa and surrounding communities

The University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Population Health are inviting rural smokers to participate in a randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of real-time video counselling on smoking cessation.

Those who participate in the study will be offered either video support sessions (via Skype, Facetime or other form of video communication), telephone support calls or written materials. 

This will help the researchers determine if smokers who live in regional and remote areas are willing to use these types of support during a quit attempt and the helpfulness of each of these strategies.

The trail is being conducted by behavioural scientist Dr Flora Tzelepis who said the study is the first of its kind.

“Boorowa has a high proportion of smokers (estimated 22.1 per every 100 people) compared to the national average of 16.1 per 100 people,” she said. 

“Video counselling may strengthen the rapport between the advisor and smoker, and for smokers who live in regional and remote areas it eliminates the need to travel long distances to access face-to-face support.

“If found to be effective, national and international Quitlines could adopt video counselling as part of their routine services.

“We are aware that smoking cessation may be more difficult for rural and regional people based on their geographical location, access to health facilities and cost. 

“This randomised control trial is determined to remove these barriers and provide cessation support via video, telephone or written platforms, at no cost to participants,” she said.

Eligible participants for the study will: 

  • currently smoke cigarettes or use tobacco every day;
  • be aged 18 years or older;
  • have access to a telephone; 
  • have access to a mode of video-communication (e.g. Skype, Facetime or other form);
  • have access to the internet; have a current e-mail address; 
  • and live in a regional or remote area of NSW. 

Participants will be asked to complete a 5 minute screening survey followed by a 10 minute baseline survey before being randomly allocated into; video support sessions, telephone support sessions or written materials.

Participants will then be required to complete a 10 minute surveys every 4-months, 7-months and 13-months.

The online screening survey is available at http://newcastlebusandlaw.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5gSXDPILw1TQJ6

For further information contact Dr Flora Tzelepis on email flora.tzelepis@newcastle.edu.au or by phone on (02) 4924 6275.