Planning a Change Easily (PACE) for smokers who are not ready to quit: a telephone-based, randomized controlled trial

Karen J. Derefinko, Zoran Bursac, Sarah B. Hand, Jon O. Ebbert, Catherine Womack, Robert C. Klesges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To compare brief advice (BA), motivational interviewing (MI), rate reduction (RR), and combined MI and RR (MI + RR) to promote smoking cessation in smokers not ready to quit. Design: Randomized controlled trial with four parallel groups of smoking cessation intervention. Participants were randomly assigned 1:2:2:2 to receive one of the following interventions: BA (n = 128), MI (n = 258), RR (n = 257), and MI + RR (n = 260). Setting: The United States. All participant contact occurred over the telephone to be consistent with the typical quit line format. Participants: A total of 903 adult smokers. Participants had a mean age of 49 (SD = 13.3) years and were 28.9% male and 63.3% Caucasian. Interventions: The BA group received advice similar to typical smoking cessation quit lines. The MI group received advice using basic MI principles to elicit language that indicates behavioral change. The RR group received behavioral skills training and nicotine gum. The MI + RR group combined elements of MI and RR conditions. All interventions were six sessions. Measurements: The primary outcome measure was self-reported point prevalence at 12 months. The secondary outcome was self-reported prolonged abstinence at 12 months. Findings: Intention to treat (ITT) point prevalence at 12 months indicated that BA (10.9%) had significantly lower point prevalence rates than RR (27.2%, OR = 3.17, 1.69–5.94), and MI + RR (26.9%, OR = 3.16, 1.68–5.93). BA did not have a significantly lower point prevalence rate than MI (15.5%, OR = 1.56, 95% CI = 0.81–3.02). Conclusions: This randomized controlled trial provided evidence that rate reduction, which offers structured behavioral skills and nicotine gum, either alone or combined with motivational interviewing, is the most effective form of cessation intervention for smokers not ready to quit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1748-1757
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Brief advice
  • motivational interviewing
  • nicotine gum
  • rate reduction
  • smokers not ready to quit
  • smoking cessation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Planning a Change Easily (PACE) for smokers who are not ready to quit: a telephone-based, randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this