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Objectives: The aim of the study is to assess the effects of a smoking cessation counseling program provided by community pharmacists. Methods: Thirty community pharmacists from the municipality and county of Taipei participated in a 16-hour training course, and then offered a smoking cessation counseling service. Data on participants were collected through online registration. A total of 485 volunteers were recruited on the first visit. Upon completion of recruitment, three consecutive follow-ups were conducted on the first, third and seventh days after the first visit. By the third follow-up, 279 volunteers remained in the program, achieving a completion rate of 57.53%. At the end of the sixth month, a total of 209 participants remained in the program. Results: Study results revealed that the smoking cessation rates on the third and seventh day, as well as the sixth month after receiving counseling, were 32.3%, 48.7% and 22.6%, respectively. On the seventh day, the smoking cessation rate was significantly lower in participants with a severe tobacco addiction than those with a minor addition (odds ratio=0.33). Participants who required nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) as assessed by pharmacists had a lower smoking cessation rate than those who didn’t (odds ratio=0.32). In the sixth month, married smokers tended to have a higher smoking cessation rate than single smokers (odds ratio=2.25). The recurrent cessation rate was also lower in participants with severe tobacco addiction compared with those of minor addiction (odds ratio=0.25). Compared with participants who did not require an NRT, a lower cessation rate was observed in participants in need of a NRT and those in need, but to a lesser extent (odds ratio=0.03, 0.04). Conclusions: The findings serve as a foundation for the implementation and promotion of a smoking cessation policy and related education. Four counseling sessions with a total of approxmate, one hour of counseling resulted in nearly half of the participants quitting smoking by the seventh day. The results of this study will serve as an incentive to encourage the promotion of smoking cessation counseling services at community pharmacies; however, the smoking cessation rate declined to 22.6% in the sixth month after counseling. When pharmacists provide smoking cessation counseling in the future, a focus on how to assist smokers to quit permanently is needed.
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