New anti-smoking system may be more effective

Feb 07, 2011

A new computer-based intervention program for smokers may be more successful than traditional methods of encouraging quitting.

A new computer-based smoking intervention system by Polaris may be more effective than traditional methods, according to the company.

Polaris' new system, the Dynamic Assessment and Referral System for Substance Abuse, operates by assessing smoking history, providing feedback, showing a motivational video and then providing the option to receive a referral for a smoking cessation program. The company says they hope this approach will give a more personalized appeal to the program as compared to traditional methods of smoking intervention, which are typically limited to handing out pamphlets.

To determine if this method was more effective, Polaris conducted a study using a sample of 75 smokers. It reported that of the group, 30 requested referrals after using the DARSSA system. After 27 were contacted by doctors, six followed through and initiated treatment. Overall, 8 percent of the group wound up entering treatment as compared to the 0.2 percent success rate for those receiving pamphlets.

According to the company, the most effective location for the system will be emergency rooms, because "the emergency room setting [is] frequently the only source of health care for the poor and uninsured - who are also more likely to smoke."

In addition to improved health, those who quit smoking may also be eligible for lower health and life insurance rates.  

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