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Effectiveness of the Gold Standard Programme compared with other smoking cessation interventions in Denmark: a cohort study
  1. Mette Rasmussen1,
  2. Esteve Fernández2,3,
  3. Hanne Tønnesen4,5
  1. 1WHO-CC Clinical Health Promotion Centre, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, Part of Copenhagen University Hospital, Frederiksberg, Denmark
  2. 2Tobacco Control Unit, Institut Català d'Oncologia (ICO-IDIBELL), L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3Department of Clinical Sciences, School of Medicine, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  4. 4Health Science, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
  5. 5WHO-CC Clinical Health Promotion Centre, Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Mette Rasmussen; mette.rasmussen.03{at}


Objectives We compared the effectiveness of the Gold Standard Programme (a comprehensive smoking cessation intervention commonly used in Denmark) with other face-to-face smoking cessation programmes in Denmark after implementation in real life, and we identified factors associated with successful quitting.

Design Prospective cohort study.

Setting A total of 423 smoking cessation clinics from different settings reported data from 2001 to 2013.

Participants In total, 82 515 patients were registered. Smokers ≥15 years old and attending a programme with planned follow-up were included. Smokers who did not want further contact, who intentionally were not followed up or who lacked information about the intervention they received were excluded. A total of 46 287 smokers were included.

Interventions Various real-life smoking cessation interventions were identified and compared: The Gold Standard Programme, Come & Quit, crash courses, health promotion counselling (brief intervention) and other interventions.

Main outcome Self-reported continuous abstinence for 6 months.

Results Overall, 33% (11 184) were continuously abstinent after 6 months; this value was 24% when non-respondents were considered smokers. The follow-up rate was 74%. Women were less likely to remain abstinent, OR 0.83 (CI 0.79 to 0.87). Short interventions were more effective among men. After adjusting for confounders, the Gold Standard Programme was the only intervention with significant results across sex, increasing the odds of abstinence by 69% for men and 31% for women. In particular, compliance, and to a lesser degree, mild smoking, older age and not being disadvantaged were associated with positive outcomes for both sexes. Compliance increased the odds of abstinence more than 3.5-fold.

Conclusions Over time, Danish smoking cessation interventions have been effective in real life. Compliance is the main predictor of successful quitting. Interestingly, short programmes seem to have relatively strong effects among men, but the absolute numbers are very small. Only the comprehensive Gold Standard Programme works across sexes.

  • smoking cessation
  • national database
  • effectiveness
  • smoking cessation interventions
  • Denmark

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  • Contributors MR and HT contributed to the conception, design and acquisition of data. MR and EF contributed to the analysis of data. MR, EF and HT contributed to the interpretation of data. MR drafted the manuscript and EF and HT revised it critically for important intellectual content. All the authors gave final approval of the version to be published. HT is the guarantor.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The Danish Data Protection Agency (2014–41–3370) and Scientific Ethics Committee (H–C–FSP–2010–049) approved this study and the Danish Data Protection Agency (2000–54–0013) also approved the SCDB.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Data from the SCDB are archived in the Danish Data Archive. Project descriptions, anonymised data sets and statistical codes used in this study are available from the corresponding author.

  • All authors, external and internal, had full access to all of the study data (including statistical reports and tables) and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and for the accuracy of the data analysis.

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