Outback Quit Pack: Feasibility trial of outreach smoking cessation for people in rural, regional, and remote Australia

Ashleigh Guillaumier, Flora Tzelepis, Christine Paul, Megan Passey, Christopher Oldmeadow, Tonelle Handley, Kristen McCarter, Laura Twyman, Amanda L. Baker, Kate Reakes, Phillipa Hastings, Billie Bonevski

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Background: Tobacco smoking rates are higher in rural, regional, and remote (RRR) areas in Australia, and strategies to improve access to quit supports are required. This pilot study examined the feasibility of a smoking cessation intervention for people in RRR areas who smoke with the intention of using this data to design a powered effectiveness trial. 

Methods: A randomised controlled trial (RCT) of the feasibility of a 12-week ‘Outback Quit Pack’ intervention consisting of mailout combination nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and a proactive referral to Quitline, compared with a minimal support control (1-page smoking cessation support information mailout) was conducted between January and October 2021. Participants recruited via mailed invitation or Facebook advertising, were adults who smoked tobacco (≥10 cigarettes/day) and resided in RRR areas of New South Wales, Australia. Participants completed baseline and 12-week follow-up telephone surveys. Outcomes were feasibility of trial procedures (recruitment method; retention; biochemical verification) and acceptability of intervention (engagement with Quitline; uptake and use of NRT). 

Results: Facebook advertising accounted for 97% of participant expressions of interest in the study (N = 100). Retention was similarly high among intervention (39/51) and control (36/49) participants. The intervention was highly acceptable: 80% of the intervention group had ≥1 completed call with Quitline, whilst Quitline made 3.7 outbound calls/participant (mean 14:05 mins duration). Most of the intervention group requested NRT refills (78%). No differences between groups in self-reported cessation outcomes. Biochemical verification using expired air breath testing was not feasible in this study. 

Conclusion: The Outback Quit Pack intervention was feasible and acceptable. Alternative methods for remote biochemical verification need further study. 

So What?: A powered RCT to test the effectiveness of the intervention to improve access to evidence-based smoking cessation support to people residing in RRR areas is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Early online date15 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Nov 2023


  • pharmacotherapy
  • randomised controlled trial
  • rural health
  • smoking cessation
  • telephone hotline


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