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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: New Approach to Helping More Low-Income Smokers Quit is Tested

Researchers from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis are testing an innovative approach to helping low-income smokers quit; the study protocol was outlined in a recent paper published in Contemporary Clinical Trials.

“Low-income Americans smoke more and quit less than those with more education and income,” wrote the study’s lead author, Dr. Amy McQueen, associate professor and co-director of the Health Communication Research Laboratory at the Brown School.

“Evidence-based interventions like tobacco quitlines do not address many of the unique challenges faced by low-income smokers, including unmet basic needs like food, housing, personal safety and money for necessities that often supersede health needs.”

In the study, smokers are recruited from United Way 2-1-1 helplines in Missouri. Some participants talk with navigators who help them with unmet needs by referring them to local resources. The standard quitlline program is adapted for low-income smokers and coaches receive additional training. Researchers will follow up to determine whether these changes increase the number of smokers who quit, compared to standard quitline practice.

“Embedding the study in practice agencies will accelerate dissemination and scalability should our findings demonstrate intervention effectiveness,” Dr. McQueen wrote.

The study, which has already recruited more than 1,000 low-income smokers, is scheduled to conclude in 2021.

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