A pilot cluster randomised controlled trial of a peer-delivered outreach community-based smoking cessation intervention for women living in disadvantaged communities in Ireland

Part of Special Series: WONCA World Rural Health Conference Abstracts 2022go to url


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Catherine B Hayes
1 MRCGP, FRCPI, FFPHMI, Associate Professor in Public Health * ORCID logo

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Jenny Patterson
2 Researcher

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Stefania Castello
3 Research Fellow

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Emma Burke
4 Research Assistant

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Nicola O'Connell
5 Research Fellow

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Catherine Darker
6 Associate Professor

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Joanne Vance
7 Community Services Manager

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Linda Bauld
8 Professor

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Fiona Dobbie
9 Research Fellow

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Kirsty Loudon
10 Freelance Researcher

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Declan Devane
11 Professor

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Nadine Dougall
12 Professor


*Assoc Prof Catherine B Hayes


1, 3, 4, 5, 6 Public Health and Primary Care, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland

2, 12 School of Health and Social Care, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland

7 Irish Cancer Society, Dublin, Ireland

8, 9 Usher Institute, College of Medicine and Veterinary Sciences, Edinburgh, Scotland

10 Freelance Researcher, Edinburgh, Scotland

11 HRB Trials Methodology Research Network & School of Nursing & Midwifery, The University of Galway, Galway, Ireland


10 January 2023 Volume 23 Issue 1


RECEIVED: 20 September 2022

ACCEPTED: 20 September 2022


Hayes CB, Patterson J, Castello S, Burke E, O'Connell N, Darker C, Vance J, Bauld L, Dobbie F, Loudon K, Devane D, Dougall N.  A pilot cluster randomised controlled trial of a peer-delivered outreach community-based smoking cessation intervention for women living in disadvantaged communities in Ireland. Rural and Remote Health 2023; 23: 8163. https://doi.org/10.22605/RRH8163


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence

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Introduction: The health of women in rural communities is adversely impacted by increased rates of tobacco use linked to socio-economic disadvantage (SED) and by limited access to services. We Can Quit (WCQ) is a smoking cessation programme delivered by trained lay women (community facilitators) in local communities, which was developed using a Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach and tailored to women living in SED areas of Ireland.

Methods: The We Can Quit2 (WCQ2) pilot cluster randomised controlled trial with an inbuilt process evaluation was conducted in four matched pairs of urban and semi-rural SED districts (8–10,000 women per district) to assess feasibility. Districts were independently randomised to WCQ (group support +/– nicotine replacement therapy), or to individual support delivered by health professionals.

Results: Findings showed that that the WCQ outreach programme is acceptable and feasible to implement for smoking women living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. A secondary outcome of smoking abstinence (self-report + biochemical validation) demonstrated 27% abstinence in the intervention group versus 17% in usual care at end of programme. Low literacy was highlighted as a major barrier to participants’ acceptability.

Discussion: The design of our project provides an affordable solution for governments in prioritising outreach smoking cessation in vulnerable populations in countries with rising rates of female lung cancer. Our community-based model using a CBPR approach empowers local women to become trained to deliver smoking cessation programmes within their own local communities. This provides a foundation to create a sustainable and equitable way to address tobacco use in rural communities.

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