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Can smoking cessation be successfully promoted among hospitality workers? Results of a pilot intervention
  1. M J López1,2,
  2. M Nebot1,2,3,
  3. P Ramos1,
  4. C Ariza1,2,
  5. M Brotons1,
  6. E Fernández4,5
  1. 1Public Health Agency of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Spain
  3. 3Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain
  4. 4Tobacco Control Research Programme, Catalan Institute of Oncology, L'Hospitalet (Barcelona), Spain
  5. 5Department of Clinical Sciences, Bellvitge Campus, University of Barcelona, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Maria J López, Public Health Agency of Barcelona, Pl Lesseps, 1, Barcelona 08023, Spain; mjlopez{at}

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Numerous interventions for smoking cessation have been carried out in different workplaces.1 However, although hospitality is one of the occupational sectors most affected by active2 and passive smoking,3 4 to our knowledge, there are no smoking interventions focussing on hospitality workers. Furthermore, this is the only occupational sector not protected by the incomplete smoking policies implemented in some countries such as Spain.5 6 Thus, the objective of this study was to design and evaluate a pilot intervention aimed at smoking cessation in hospitality workers.

Participants were recruited by means of telephone calls to hospitality venues, selected at random from a public directory. In each venue, we offered a free cessation program for smokers who agreed to participate. Thirty five workers from 30 hospitality venues in the city of Barcelona were included in this study. All the smokers were interviewed to assess their level of dependence and motivation to quit using the Fagerstrom and Richmond tests. The intervention included three face-to-face sessions lasting an average of 30 min each, carried out by a psychologist trained in smoking cessation. The sessions took place at the hospitality venue where the smoker worked, at the most convenient time for the smoker, as previously agreed by telephone. The sessions consisted of behaviour-oriented counselling complemented by support material such as leaflets. Nicotine replacement therapy was used when considered necessary by the therapist, who was available by telephone and e-mail 12 h a day to clarify any doubts or questions. After the intervention, carried out between June 2007 and March 2008, three follow-up calls were made 1, 3 and 6 months later. Furthermore, 17 workers completed another questionnaire that measured the perceived utility of the intervention as well as satisfaction with the sessions.

Sixty per cent of the participants were men. Their mean age was 39 years (range 23–59), the mean number of years of smoking was 22 (range 6–42) and the mean number of cigarettes smoked per day was 24 (range 5–40). The Fagerstrom test showed that dependence was low in 43% of these smokers, medium in 23% and high in 34%. According to the Richmond test, most of these hospitality workers (57%) were highly motivated to quit. Thirty three out of 35 smokers set a quit smoking day, and 30 started nicotine replacement therapy. Twenty eight workers remained abstinent 1 week after the quit day, this number decreasing to 19, 17 and 13 workers at 1, 3 and 6 months after the intervention (table 1). Furthermore, among those workers who were still smokers 6 months after the intervention, eight had reduced their tobacco consumption. All the smokers considered the intervention extremely useful and reported a high level of satisfaction (the average score was eight out of 10).

Table 1

Evaluation of a smoking cessation intervention in hospitality workers

This was a pilot study with a very limited number of participants and so the results must be interpreted with caution. However, the high cessation rate 6 months after the intervention suggests that this approach is feasible and potentially useful in helping hospitality workers quit smoking. This type of intervention, adapted to the work hours and time restrictions of these workers, could be especially important and even more effective if the Spanish smoking law banning smoking in all hospitality venues is implemented.



  • Funding This study was funded by the Ministry of Health, Instituto de Salud Carlos III (FIS PI042593).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.