Objective: To determine the effects of motivational interviewing (MI) counselling versus a minimal intervention control on the enrollment of smokers in the Minnesota QUITPLAN Helpline.
Study design: Two-group randomized controlled trial of 235 community-dwelling adult smokers. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either a three-session phone based motivational interviewing intervention (n = 118) or the control (n = 117) consisting of mailed printed materials about the Minnesota QUITPLAN helpline services.
Data collection: Participants completed demographic and smoking-related survey questionnaire at baseline (by mail) and at weeks 4 and 26 (by phone) follow-up. Quitline enrollment status data was provided by the Minnesota QUITPLAN Helpline.
Principal findings: At week 4 follow-up, a higher proportion of participants in the MI group (22.3%) had enroled in the Minnesota QUITPLAN Helpline compared to those in the control arm (13.6%; p = 0.098). At week 26 follow-up, enrollment rates were similar for MI (28.0%) and control (26.5%) arms. Of those who enroled in the Helpline, participants in the MI group reported completing more Helpline sessions than those in control group (4.9 vs. 3.2; p = 0.087).
There was no significant interaction between readiness to quit and intervention for the outcome of enrollment in the Helpline.
Conclusions: A minimal intensity control such as mailing printed materials resulted in quitline enrollment rates similar to a more resource intensive intervention like motivational interviewing and several folds higher than the current state or national averages. We recommend that health plans should consider mailing smoking cessation promotional messages to encourage smokers to enrol in quitlines.