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To evaluate the effectiveness of a physician-based intervention to promote smoking cessation during pregnancy, we conducted this randomized controlled trial in the residentstaffed prenatal clinics at the University of North Carolina Women's Hospital. Two hundred fifty prenatal patients who smoked were enrolled at their first visit and randomly assigned to the intervention or the usual-care group. Resident physicians provided self-help materials to intervention subjects and used a script to set goals with them at each prenatal visit. Subjects who set quit dates were contacted by volunteer cessation counselors. To verify smoking status, subjects provided a self-report and breath carbon monoxide (CO) sample at each visit. Controls were similarly assessed at enrollment and at three additional predetermined intervals. Twenty percent of intervention subjects and 10% of controls reported cessation, which was verified by CO level (P = .052). Fifty-one percent of subjects reduced their consumption by half or more, compared with 30% of controls (P = .002). The intervention is effective in promoting smoking cessation and reduction. In addition, this technique is inexpensive, readily accepted by staff, and efficient.