Aims:

  • to develop a computer system for generating tailored letters to help people stop smoking
  • to research knowledge acquisition (KA) techniques to acquire text-planning and sentence-planning rules from domain experts
  • to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of the computer generated letters in a general practice setting
  • to evaluate the cost effectiveness of this brief smoking cessation intervention

The results of our clinical trial suggested that while sending smokers a letter could help a small but useful number of people quit, the tailored letters were no more effective in this regard than the non-tailored letters. The tailored letters may have been slightly more effective with heavy smokers and others who found it especially difficult to quit, but the evidence for this is not conclusive.