Abstract Background A screening program provides a teachable moment for primary prevention such as encouraging smoking cessation. However, little is known about the efficacy of smoking cessation intervention delivered to the general population through a community-based screening program. Methods A quasi-experimental untreated control design with pre-test and post-test was conducted with 42 subjects receiving advice from physician and nurses (the PNA group), 39 receiving an informational leaflet (the leaflet group), and 308 control subjects. Results The overall rate of reaching the action stage was 25 %, 5.7 %, and 7.8 in the PNA group, the leaflet group, and the control group, respectively. In approximately 45–60 % of all participants, the stage remained unchanged. Such an association between the intervention groups and stage changes was statistically significant (p = 0.02). The PNA group was more likely to have the improvement of stage (forward transition toward action stage) than the control group [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 2.27 (1.07–4.84)]. Deterioration (backward transition toward precontemplation) in the PNA intervention group was 37 % lower than that in the control group [aOR = 0.63 (0.20–2.01)]. Conclusions This study demonstrated that smoking cessation advice from physician and nurse is conducive to smoking cessation, as shown by greater movement toward and less movement away from smoking cessation through a community-based integrated screening platform.