Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Health Professional Information

Health Professionals Information

Start2quit is a randomised controlled trial within the primary care population. We aim to recruit 60 general practices in 10 different areas served by an NHS Stop Smoking Service (SSS), initially in North London and Oxfordshire.

By using Census data and Indices of Deprivation, we will select practices in areas of high deprivation to encourage involvement from smokers most in need of help.

We will work with SSS and the Primary Care Research Networks (PCRN) to identify sufficient practices serving these populations.


All current smokers will be eligible to take part if they:

  • are willing to participate and returning the signed consent form
  • are aged 16 years and over
  • are able to read English
  • are motivated to quit
  • have not previously attended the NHS services

We have minimal exclusion criteria because the aim is to recruit all smokers into the SSS. However, any patient considered by the GP to be unsuitable for the study (e.g. severely or terminally ill) will be excluded.

GP Practices

The research activity at the GP practice involves 1) an initial search of the patient records to identify the population of current smokers and 2) a mailing of an invitation letter - PDF, Participant Information Sheet - PDF, Smoking Questionnaire and Consent Form PDF.

A freepost envelope will be included for the return of the questionnaire and consent form to the practice.

A member of the research team will make 3 to 5 visits to the practice over the active recruitment and intervention phase to assist in processing returns and generating the Control and Intervention letters. For more information on the proposed schedule see Recruitment Timetable - PDF.

Under research governance guidelines, the GP practice is considered a Patient Identification Centre (PIC) as the research activity is solely related to identification of potential participants and will not be responsible for any other procedures.

NHS Stop Smoking Services

Three advisors in each SSS, already trained to give smoking cessation advice in group and one-to-one sessions, will run a series of 6 taster sessions. The advisors will be trained to lead the taster sessions according to a standard protocol. The training will be manualised and include an explanation and clarification of the study protocol and procedures. For more information on the proposed schedule see Recruitment Timetable - PDF. At the end of the session, attendees will be encouraged to sign up to a 6-week course with the local SSS or, if appropriate, through the service offered at their own GP practice.

Under research governance guidelines, the SSS is considered a study site and a Local Collaborator could have the opportunity to be involved. However, apart from the provision of the taster sessions, there will be minimal involvement in any other procedures.

If you interested in learning more about getting involved in the study, please contact the Trial Manager Leanne Gardner.

Potential benefits for participants, GP practice and SSS

Personal risk information, generated by computer, is a simple and inexpensive intervention which, if the trial demonstrated benefit, could be widely replicated and delivered cost effectively to a large proportion of the smoking population, prompting more quit attempts, and increasing referrals to the NHS SSS. A modest success rate could have a large effect on attendance at the SSS given its recruitment potential, and could make a valuable contribution to public health by lowering smoking prevalence. The programme could be made available to practices. These letters, tailored to the requirements of each individual, offer GPs and practice nurses an efficient way of integrating referrals to the SSS into a busy primary care practice. An added benefit for practices taking part will be an opportunity to update the smoking status of patients, thus contributing to QOF indicators. All patients, including those not wishing to take part in the study, will have the opportunity to return the relevant part of the questionnaire to update practice records.