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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Friday, July 14, 2006 - 12:00 PM

Title: Smoking Management and Persistent Mental Illness

Jessica Van Exan, MA1, Angela Thomas, BScN2, Joel Goldberg, PhD2, and Anne Washington, BA2. (1) Psychology, York University, 7 Almira Avenue, Markham, ON L6B1B9, Canada, (2) Hamilton Program for Schizophrenia, 350 King St. E., Suite 102, Hamilton, ON L8N 3Y3, Canada

Objective: Surveys of patients with schizophrenia have found rates of smoking to be two to four times higher than in the general population (Goldberg, Moll & Washington, 1996). The biological ‘rewards' of smoking in schizophrenia hypofrontality and psychological mechanisms (such as coping with ‘voices') highlight the need for specialized smoking management programs for this population. We will outline the development and success rates of the ‘Smokebusters' curriculum.

Methods: The ‘Smokebusters' program is a 15-week, group-based curriculum developed according to the principles of the Stages of Change Model, with input from professionals with expertise in the treatment of nicotine addiction and mental health concerns. The first six weeks of the program focus on the benefits of change and an increased awareness of smoking habits. Week seven to week 12 address barriers to change such as stress, lack of confidence, boredom, addiction, withdrawal symptoms and pressures to smoke. The final three weeks is a review of strategies to cope with the triggers to smoke with the focus on relapse prevention.

Results: Although there has been a single randomized controlled trial of ‘Smokebusters' efficacy (Addington, 1998), there has been no examination of long-term outcomes. We will present naturalistic longitudinal data on the success rates of the ‘Smokebusters' program. Results will demonstrate that there has been an impact on the epidemiological rates of smoking for patients with schizophrenia. Clinical implications and recommendations will be offered for health professionals in order to understand the potential barriers in working with patients with schizophrenia to assist them in smoking management.