Motivational interviewing may assist smokers to quit

Clinical question: 
How effective is motivational interviewing in promoting smoking cessation?
Bottom line: 
Motivational interviewing seemed effective when given by GPs and by trained counsellors (NNT* 27, range 21–250). Longer sessions (>20 minutes per session) were more effective than shorter ones. Two or more sessions of treatment appeared to be marginally more successful than a single session treatment, but both delivered successful outcomes. The evidence for the value of follow-up telephone support was unclear. * NNT = number needed to treat to benefit 1 individual.
Caveat: 
These results should be interpreted with caution due to variations in study quality, treatment fidelity and the possibility of publication or selective reporting bias. Critical details in how motivational interviewing was modified for the particular study population, the training of therapists and the content of the counselling were sometimes lacking in trial reports.
Context: 
Motivational interviewing is a directive patient-centred style of counselling, designed to help people to explore and resolve ambivalence about behaviour change. It seeks to avoid an aggressive or confrontational approach, and tries to steer people towards choosing to change their behaviour, and to encourage their selfbelief. Motivational interviewing was developed as a treatment for alcohol abuse, but may help smokers to quit smoking.
Review CD#: 
CD006936
PEARLS No: 
249
Date: 
April, 2010
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy