A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of a Phone-based Intervention for Smoking Cessation and Relapse Prevention in the Postpartum Period

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To pilot-test a Phone-based Postpartum Continuing Care (PPCC) protocol developed from existing evidence-based approaches to address both postpartum smoking relapse among low-income women who quit smoking during pregnancy and postpartum smoking increase among those who had cut down.


One hundred thirty low-income pregnant women who were current or recently quit tobacco smokers were recruited at their first prenatal appointment and randomized to either a Control (standard care) or Experimental (standard care + PPCC) group. An intent-to-treat analysis was conducted on biochemically verified data from 6 in-person interviews during pregnancy and postpartum. Feasibility with regard to recruitment, randomization, assessment, and implementation of PPCC were assessed, along with acceptability among the target population.


PPCC was found to be feasible and acceptable to some participants, but not all. There were no significant differences in tobacco products per day at 6 months postpartum between groups; however, effect sizes differed at 6 weeks compared with 6 months postpartum. Similarly, there were no significant differences between groups in cessation rate (24% in each group) and past 90-day tobacco use (59 vs 55 days, for Control and Experimental groups, respectively).


The PPCC intervention did not differentially reduce tobacco use postpartum compared with a controlled comparison group, though it was found to be acceptable among a subpopulation of low-income pregnant women and feasible with regard to recruitment, randomization, assessment procedures, and implementation. Further research is needed to identify an intervention that significantly improves smoking relapse rates postpartum.

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