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Brandon, T. H., Collins, B. N., Juliano, L. M., & Lazev, A. B.  (2000). Preventing relapse among former smokers:  A comparison of minimal interventions via telephone and mail.  Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 68, 103-113.

This study compared 2 minimal interventions for reducing relapse in ex-smokers. One intervention involved 12-month access to a telephone hot line. In the other intervention, 8 relapse-prevention booklets were mailed to participants over 1 year. The 2 interventions were crossed in a 2 x 2 factorial design, yielding control, hot-line-only, mailings-only, and combined conditions. The criterion of at least 1 week of abstinence at baseline was met by 584 participants, 446 of whom also completed a 12-month assessment. Repeated mailings, but not the hot line, reduced relapse for those participants who had been abstinent for less than 3 months at baseline. At follow-up, 12% of those in the mailings conditions were smoking again compared with 35% in the nonmailing conditions. As predicted, both interventions were effective at attenuating the association between depressive symptoms and poor outcome found in the control condition.

Brandon, T. H., Meade, C. D., Herzog, T. A., Chirikos, T. N., Webb, M. S., & Cantor, A. B. (2004). Efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a minimal intervention to prevent smoking relapse:  Dismantling the effects of content versus contact. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 72, 797-808.

Relapse prevention remains a major challenge to smoking cessation efforts. T. H. Brandon, B. N. Collins, L. M. Juliano, and A. B. Lazev (2000) found that a series of 8 empirically based relapse-prevention booklets mailed to ex-smokers over 1 year significantly reduced relapse. This study dismantled 2 components of that intervention: the amount of content (number of booklets) and the frequency of contact. Content and contact were crossed in a 2 X 2 factorial design. The criteria of at least 1 week of abstinence at baseline was met by 431 participants, 75%-85% of whom returned 12-, 18-, and 24-month follow-up questionnaires. Eight booklets produced consistently higher point-prevalence abstinence rates than did a single booklet, but frequency of contact did not affect outcome. Moreover, the high-content interventions were highly cost-effective.

Chirikos, T. N., Herzog, T. A., Meade, C. D., Webb, M. S., & Brandon, T. H. (2004).  Cost-effectiveness analysis of a complementary health intervention: The case of smoking relapse prevention.  International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, 20, 475-480.

OBJECTIVES: We assess the cost-effectiveness of smoking relapse prevention interventions designed to keep quitters from resuming the use of cigarettes. Because relapse prevention is complementary to smoking cessation efforts, the appropriate test of its cost-effectiveness is whether it reduces the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of smoking cessation. The major goal of the study is to carry out such a test. METHODS: Data from a randomized trial that ascertained the effectiveness of alternative modes of smoking relapse prevention are combined with ICER estimates of smoking cessation to assess whether relapse prevention is cost-effective. RESULTS: The trial produced convincing evidence that relapse prevention yields statistically significant reductions in the proportion of quitters who are smoking at 24 months postquit. The intervention effects are substantial enough to raise the denominator terms of the smoking cessation ICER and, thereby, offset the amount relapse prevention adds to cost numerator terms. In this sense, smoking relapse prevention tends to pay for itself. CONCLUSIONS: Smoking relapse prevention is a highly cost-effective addition to current efforts to curb cigarette consumption. Complementary health interventions of this sort should be assessed by different methods than those commonly found in the cost-effectiveness literature.

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