Successful Optimization of Tobacco Dependence Treatment in the Emergency Department: A Randomized Controlled Trial Using the Multiphase Optimization Strategy

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Annals of emergency medicine








STUDY OBJECTIVE: Tobacco dependence treatment initiated in the hospital emergency department (ED) is effective. However, trials typically use multicomponent interventions, making it difficult to distinguish specific components that are effective. In addition, interactions between components cannot be assessed. The Multiphase Optimization Strategy allows investigators to identify these effects. METHODS: We conducted a full-factorial, 2 or 16-condition optimization trial in a busy hospital ED to examine the performance of 4 tobacco dependence interventions: a brief negotiation interview; 6 weeks of nicotine replacement therapy with the first dose delivered in the ED; active referral to a telephone quitline; and enrollment in SmokefreeTXT, a free short-messaging service program. Study data were analyzed with a novel mixed methods approach to assess clinical efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and qualitative participant feedback. The primary endpoint was tobacco abstinence at 3 months, verified by exhaled carbon monoxide using a Bedfont Micro+ Smokerlyzer. RESULTS: Between February 2017 and May 2019, we enrolled 1,056 adult smokers visiting the ED. Odd ratios (95% confidence intervals) from the primary analysis of biochemically confirmed abstinence rates at 3 months for each intervention, versus control, were: brief negotiation interview, 1.8 (1.1, 2.8); nicotine replacement therapy, 2.1 (1.3, 3.2); quitline, 1.4 (0.9, 2.2); SmokefreeTXT, 1.1 (0.7, 1.7). There were no statistically significant interactions among components. Economic and qualitative analyses are in progress. CONCLUSION: The brief negotiation interview and nicotine replacement therapy were efficacious. This study is the first to identify components of ED-initiated tobacco dependence treatment that are individually effective. Future work will address the scalability of the brief negotiation interview and nicotine replacement therapy by offering provider-delivered brief negotiation interviews and nicotine replacement therapy prescriptions.


Prevention and Community Health