The long-term effectiveness of a smoking-cessation program based on education, behavior modification, and group support was evaluated. Because of the availability of long-term follow-up data, the natural history of cessation of smoking in persons who had attended a smoking-cessation program could be studied. At 1 year, the permanent rate of cessation of smoking was 22%, and permanent cessation continued to occur at least through 6 years of follow-up. Factors related to a higher rate of cessation of smoking were a white-collar occupation, having previously stopped smoking for more than 1 month or more than 1 year, being male, and wanting to stop smoking because of health concerns. In the absence of an almost complete return of questionnaires, sole reliance on mailed self-reports would have substantially overestimated the smoking-cessation rates. Although smoking-cessation programs alone involve relatively few smokers, analysis of the methods used in programs such as the one described continues to be important for the development of successful efforts to help people stop smoking.
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