Smoking cessation study

Dr Flora Tzelepis from the University of Newcastle
Dr Flora Tzelepis from the University of Newcastle

The first study to examine the effectiveness of real-time video counselling to help people in regional and remote areas give up smoking is looking for participants on the Mid North Coast, including in Bellingen Shire.

Dr Flora Tzelepis from the University of Newcastle is the lead researcher for the study, which will involve randomly allocating people to three different groups.

One-third will receive video counselling to quit smoking using Skype, Facebook Messenger or FaceTime; one-third will receive Quitline telephone counselling and one-third will receive written materials.

People living in rural and regional towns face many barriers to healthcare, including difficulty in accessing support to stop smoking.

The randomised control trial is determined to remove these barriers and provide cessation support via video, telephone or written platforms.

“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,” Dr Tzelepis said.

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

Study participants will also be asked to complete a brief online survey about smoking habits initially and then 4-months, 7-months and 13-months later.

The researchers are looking for people who:

  • smoke cigarettes or use tobacco every day
  • are aged 18 years or older
  • have access to a telephone, and to a mode of video-communication (e.g. Skype, FaceTime)
  • have access to the internet and a current e-mail address
  • live in a regional or remote area of New South Wales, Australia.

For more information and to go to the survey click on: www.newcastle.edu.au/research/quit

Contact person: Dr Flora Tzelepis

Telephone: (02) 4924 6275

E-mail: Flora.Tzelepis@newcastle.edu.au

Research team: Dr Flora Tzelepis, Ms Judith Byaruhanga, Miss Emma Byrnes, Prof John Wiggers, A/Prof Christine Paul, Prof Jennifer Bowman, Dr Elizabeth Campbell, Ms Karen Gillham