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Open Access Short Report

Evaluation of a student-run smoking cessation clinic for a medically underserved population

Lindsay E Lough, Jon O Ebbert* and Thomas G McLeod

Author Affiliations

Mayo Clinic, 200 1st Street Southwest, Rochester, MN 55905, USA

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:55  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-55

Published: 8 March 2011

Abstract

Background

Smoking is common among medically underserved populations. Accessible resources to encourage and support smoking cessation among these patients are limited. Volunteer medical student-run free smoking cessation clinics may provide an effective option to help these individuals achieve smoking abstinence. In order to demonstrate the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of a student-run clinic, we analyzed a case series of patients receiving care in a medical student-run Smoking Cessation Clinic (SCC) at the Rochester, Minnesota Salvation Army Good Samaritan Health Clinic (GSHC).

Findings

Between January 2005 and March 2009, 282 cigarette smokers seeking care at the SCC were analyzed. Student providers at the SCC conducted 1652 weekly individual counseling sessions averaging 18 minutes per encounter. Patients were offered a choice of pharmacotherapies including nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion, and varenicline for up to 12 weeks. Smoking abstinence was confirmed with exhaled carbon monoxide (CO). Thirty-two patients completed the entire 12-week program (11.3%). At last contact, 94 patients (33.3%) abstained from smoking for ≥ 7 days and 39 patients (13.8%) were continuously abstinent for ≥ 4 weeks. The 7-day point prevalence abstinence rates at last contact were 58.6% for varenicline, 41.2% for bupropion, 33.9% for NRT, and 23.5% for bupropion and NRT. Analyzing missing patients as smoking, the 7-day point prevalence abstinence rates were 7.1%, 8.9%, and 8.2%, at 1 month, 2 months, and 3 months after program enrollment, respectively. No serious adverse drug reactions were recorded.

Conclusions

Our medical student-run smoking cessation clinic provided an effective and safe experience for medically underserved patients who might not otherwise have access to conventional smoking cessation programs because of high cost, lack of insurance, or other disparities. Similar medical student initiatives focusing on healthy lifestyles may be feasible and beneficial for individuals with limited access to healthcare resources.