Asgeir R. Helgason Research Network

Prevention Research

Swedish National Tobacco Quitline

The Swedish National Tobacco Quitline (SNTQ) is a nationwide, free service operated by the Stockholm County Council Health Service and financed by the Swedish Government. The quitline started in 1998 with a reactive service. In 1999, a proactive service was introduced, and clients could choose a reactive or proactive service.

The counsellors are trained health professionals, such as nurses, dentists, dental hygienists, or psychologists, with previous experience of primary and secondary prevention. Additionally, all counsellors receive approximately 6 months of training in tobacco cessation methods. The structured treatment protocol is a mixture of motivational interviewing (MI), cognitive behaviour therapy, and pharmacological consultation. Regular call monitoring with supervision is performed for quality assurance and an independent university-based coding laboratory (MIC-Lab) assess the quality (fidelity) of the support protocol.

Tobacco cessation in Dentistry and Primary Health Care

The projects comprises several randomized controlled trials, epidemiological studies and cost-effectiveness assessments.

The findings indicate that the main thresholds for high quality tobacco cessation in these arenas are time pressure and lack of training. The results also indicate that whereas primary health care and dentistry professionals see tobacco cessation as an important task, they lack an effective support function were they can refer patients who need more time consuming expert support.

In Sweden the National Tobacco Quitline has been developed to meet this need with promising results.

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)

The project, focusing on the relationship between attitudes, health risk awareness and parents’ smoking behavior in the vicinity of their children, was a Nordic collaboration initiated by the Nordic Cancer Union.

We assessed parental attitudes, health risk awareness and behavior before and after an intervention in all five Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland). The results indicated that health risk awareness and attitudes changed in all countries during the intervention and a significant reduction in children’s exposure to environmental tobacco smoke was noted. Also, parental increased health risk awareness was related to decreased environmental tobacco smoke. Seven paper were publishd.

Primary prevention projects

Asgeir R. Helgason has been involved in prevention research on electronic screen use, tobacco, alcohol and sun exposure.