Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

Effectiveness of proactive telephone counselling for smoking cessation in parents: Study protocol of a randomized controlled trial

Kathrin Schuck1*, Roy Otten1, Marloes Kleinjan1, Jonathan B Bricker23 and Rutger CME Engels1

Author Affiliations

1 Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, Montessorilaan 3, P.O. Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands

2 Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Avenue, P.O. Box 19024, Seattle, WA 98109, USA

3 University of Washington, Department of Psychology, Box 351525, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:732  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-732

Published: 26 September 2011



Smoking is the world's fourth most common risk factor for disease, the leading preventable cause of death, and it is associated with tremendous social costs. In the Netherlands, the smoking prevalence rate is high. A total of 27.7% of the population over age 15 years smokes. In addition to the direct advantages of smoking cessation for the smoker, parents who quit smoking may also decrease their children's risk of smoking initiation.


A randomized controlled trial will be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of proactive telephone counselling to increase smoking cessation rates among smoking parents. A total of 512 smoking parents will be proactively recruited through their children's primary schools and randomly assigned to either proactive telephone counselling or a control condition. Proactive telephone counselling will consist of up to seven counsellor-initiated telephone calls (based on cognitive-behavioural skill building and Motivational Interviewing), distributed over a period of three months. Three supplementary brochures will also be provided. In the control condition, parents will receive a standard brochure to aid smoking cessation. Assessments will take place at baseline, three months after start of the intervention (post-measurement), and twelve months after start of the intervention (follow-up measurement). Primary outcome measures will include sustained abstinence between post-measurement and follow-up measurement and 7-day point prevalence abstinence and 24-hours point prevalence abstinence at both post- and follow-up measurement. Several secondary outcome measures will also be included (e.g., smoking intensity, smoking policies at home). In addition, we will evaluate smoking-related cognitions (e.g., attitudes towards smoking, social norms, self-efficacy, intention to smoke) in 9-12 year old children of smoking parents.


This study protocol describes the design of a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of proactive telephone counselling in smoking cessation. It is expected that, in the telephone counseling condition, parental smoking cessation rates will be higher and children's cognitions will be less favorable about smoking compared to the control condition.

Trial registration

The protocol for this study is registered with the Netherlands Trial Register NTR2707.