Evaluation of the Victorian Fresh Start Short Course: January 2000 to February 2003

Germain D, Letcher T, Fuller T.

CBRC Research Paper Series No. 7, June 2004.

Fresh Start courses, a smoking cessation course developed by Quit Victoria, have been run in workplaces, prisons, and in the community since 1983. The Fresh Start Short Course was developed in 1999, for those people who were unable to complete the longer version. This report presents the findings of an evaluation of 65 Fresh Start Short Courses run between 2000 and 2003. The aim of the evaluation was to assess the abstinence rates of participants, both at the end of the course and after three months and 12 months, and to evaluate participants’ satisfaction with the course overall.

Results indicate that quit rates fell from 23%, at the end of the Fresh Start short course, to 17% at the 3-month follow-up and 16% at the 12-month follow-up. However, of respondents who completed the 12-month follow-up questionnaire, 30% had quit smoking. Mean daily consumption of cigarettes declined from 21 cigarettes per day prior to the course down to 14 per day after the course, and up to 18 per day 12 months later. Of those who were not smoking 12 months after completion of the course, 80% were feeling ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ confident of having successfully quit for good. However, smokers’ urgency to quit diminished over time, with those still smoking at 12 months the least likely to be planning to quit.

Participants’ feedback on the course was generally very positive with regard to the nature and content of the course, but particularly in relation to the skills and knowledge of the facilitators. Overall, Fresh Start Short Courses provide an opportunity for smokers to attend a quit smoking course and to be introduced to the Quitline and other strategies/quitting aids that they might not otherwise have been exposed to.