Self-help materials for smoking relapse prevention: a process evaluation of the SHARPISH randomized controlled trial

Caitlin Notley, Annie Blyth, Vivienne Maskrey, Babu Karavadra, Tracey Brown, Richard Holland, Max O. Bachmann, Thomas H. Brandon, Fujian Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Background: UK Stop Smoking Services are effective at assisting smokers to quit. However, smoking relapse rates are high, representing a significant public health problem. No effective interventions are currently available. This embedded qualitative process evaluation, within a randomised controlled trial of a self-help smoking relapse prevention intervention, aimed to understand patient perspectives in explaining the null trial finding, and to make recommendations for intervention development.

Methods: The intervention was a British version of the ‘Forever Free’ self help booklets (SHARPISH - ISRCTN 36980856). The qualitative evaluation purposefully sampled 43 interview participants, triangulated with the views of 10 participants and 12 health professionals in focus groups. Data were thematically analysed.

Results: Analysis revealed important variation in individual engagement with the self help booklets. Variation was interpreted by the meta-themes of ‘motivation for cessation’, and ‘positioning on information provision’, interacting with the theme of ‘mechanisms for information provision’.

Conclusions: Targeting self help information towards those most motivated to engage may be beneficial, considering the social and cultural realities of individual’s lives. Individual preferences for the mechanisms of information delivery should be appraised when designing future interventions. Long term personalised follow up may be a simple step in improving smoking relapse rates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-105
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date24 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • smoking relapse
  • Public Health
  • Process evaluation

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