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Minimal Data Set

The Minimal Data Set (MDS) offers a standard approach to evaluating tobacco cessation quitlines. NAQC has been engaged in developing the MDS since the summer of 2003. Funding was provided by Health Canada, American Cancer Society, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute. The MDS was implemented in North America in September 2005.

The MDS is valuable for the following activities:

  • Establishing commonly defined performance indicators to assist in assessing quitline performance, improving the quality of quitlines, identifying knowledge gaps and designing new strategies to fill the gaps.
  • Providing a common language allowing for consistent communication with others within and external to the Consortium.
  • Identifying quitline performance benchmarks that can be used to determine effective, cost-efficient tobacco cessation interventions.
  • Testing and assessing new treatment techniques across large diverse populations not possible by a single quitline.
  • Collecting consistent data and allowing aggregation of data across quitlines for improved analyses of a variety of variables relevant to the success of quitlines in North America.  

Provided the following citation is used, the MDS may be copied or reproduced without permission: North American Quitline Consortium (NAQC). The Minimal Data Set for Evaluating Quitlines. Phoenix, AZ: NAQC; 2012.


With questions about the MDS, please contact

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