Randomised controlled trial of tailored support to increase physical activity and reduce smoking in smokers not immediately ready to quit: protocol for the Trial of physical Activity-assisted Reduction of Smoking (TARS) Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Adrian Taylor
  • Tom P Thompson
  • Michael Ussher
  • Paul Aveyard
  • Rachael L Murray
  • Tess Harris
  • Siobhan Creanor
  • Colin Green
  • Adam Justin Streeter
  • Jade Chynoweth
  • Wendy Ingram
  • Helen Hancocks
  • Tristan Snowsill
  • Lynne Callaghan
  • Lisa Price
  • Jane Horrell
  • Jennie King
  • Alex Gude
  • Mary George
  • Charlotte Wahlich
  • Louisa Hamilton
  • Kelisha Cheema
  • Sarah Campbell
  • Dan Preece

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Plymouth, UK
  • University of London
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Exeter
  • Public Health
  • University of Oxford


INTRODUCTION: Smoking reduction can lead to increased success in quitting. This study aims to determine if a client-focused motivational support package for smoking reduction (and quitting) and increasing (or otherwise using) physical activity (PA) can help smokers who do not wish to quit immediately to reduce the amount they smoke, and ultimately quit. This paper reports the study design and methods.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A pragmatic, multicentred, parallel, two group, randomised controlled superiority clinical trial, with embedded process evaluation and economics evaluation. Participants who wished to reduce smoking with no immediate plans to quit were randomised 1:1 to receive either (1) tailored individual health trainer face-to-face and/or telephone support to reduce smoking and increase PA as an aid to smoking reduction (intervention) or (2) brief written/electronic advice to reduce or quit smoking (control). Participants in both arms of the trial were also signposted to usual local support for smoking reduction and quitting. The primary outcome measure is 6-month carbon monoxide-confirmed floating prolonged abstinence following participant self-reported quitting on a mailed questionnaire at 3 and 9 months post-baseline. Participants confirmed as abstinent at 9 months will be followed up at 15 months.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Approved by SW Bristol National Health Service Research Committee (17/SW/0223). Dissemination will include publication of findings for the stated outcomes, parallel process evaluation and economic evaluation in peer-reviewed journals. Results will be disseminated to trial participants and healthcare providers.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e043331
JournalBMJ open
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020