Implementation of a free smoking-cessation program in a Lebanese academic medical center
Maya Romani 1,   Rima Nakkash 2,   Sarah Jawhar 1,   Ramzi G. Salloum 2, 3  
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Department of Family Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon
Department of Health Promotion and Community Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, United States
Ramzi G. Salloum   

Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, United States
Publication date: 2020-09-08
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2020;18(September):75
Despite the exceptionally high prevalence of tobacco use in Lebanon, few cessation programs exist. The American University of Beirut (AUB) developed one of the first smoking-cessation programs in the country in 2015, and the program became free-of-charge to patients in 2018. The program offers initial visit(s) with a primary care provider, in-person and/or telephone counseling, acupuncture, and medications.

Material and Methods:
We assessed patient characteristics, treatments used, and patient outcomes in the first year of implementing the free smoking-cessation program, compared to the original program. We compared 87 smokers who initiated treatment in the free program with 47 patients in the original program.

At baseline, smokers in the free program were younger, smoked fewer cigarettes per day, and had lower CO levels than smokers in the original program. At 1 month follow-up, 72.9% were abstinent in the free program, compared with 42.2% in the original program (p<0.001). Smokers who had ≥2 primary care visits and those who had ≥1 acupuncture visits had higher rates of abstinence at 1 month and those who were prescribed bupropion had higher rates of abstinence at 12 months.

Implementation of the free smoking cessation program demonstrates preliminary efficacy, with telephone support offering potential for scalability.

We thank the nurses and staff of the Smoking Cessation Program at the American University of Beirut Medical Center’s Health and Wellness Center for their efforts in data collection.
The authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none was reported.
This work was supported by the American University of Beirut Tobacco- Free University Fund.
Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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