Behavioral Counseling and Varenicline Treatment for Smoking Cessation

Gary E. Swan, Jennifer B. McClure, Lisa M. Jack, Susan M. Zbikowski, Harold S. Javitz, Sheryl L Catz, Mona Deprey, Julie Richards, Timothy A. McAfee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Background: Smoking remains the primary preventable cause of death and illness in the U.S. Effective, convenient treatment programs are needed to reduce smoking prevalence. Purpose: This study compared the effectiveness of three modalities of a behavioral smoking-cessation program in smokers using varenicline. Methods: Current treatment-seeking smokers (n=1202) were recruited from a large healthcare organization between October 2006 and October 2007. Eligible participants were randomized to one of three smoking-cessation interventions: web-based counseling (n=401); proactive telephone-based counseling (PTC; n=402); or combined PTC and web counseling (n=399). All participants received a standard 12-week FDA-approved course of varenicline. Self-report determined the primary outcomes (7-day point prevalent abstinence at 3- and 6-month follow-ups); the number of days varenicline was taken; and treatment-related symptoms. Behavioral measures determined utilization of both the web- and Phone-based counseling. Results: Intent-to-treat analyses revealed relatively high percentages of abstinence at 3 months (38.9%, 48.5%, 43.4%) and at 6 months (30.7%, 34.3%, 33.8%) for the web, PTC, and PTC-web groups, respectively. The PTC group had a significantly higher percentage of abstinence than the web group at 3 months (OR=1.48, 95% CI=1.12, 1.96), but no between-group differences in abstinence outcomes were seen at 6 months. Conclusions: Phone counseling had greater treatment advantage for early cessation and appeared to increase medication adherence, but the absence of differences at 6 months suggests that any of the interventions hold promise when used in conjunction with varenicline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-490
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology


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