The Preliminary Efficacy and Feasibility of Group-Based Smoking Cessation Treatment Program for Incarcerated Smokers

Pamela Valera, Nicholas Acuna, Ismary Vento
American Journal of Men's Health 2020, 14 (4): 1557988320943357
Group-based tobacco dependence treatment has been known to help smokers to quit in general adult populations, but the feasibility and efficacy of this type of smoking cessation treatment in correctional settings remain uncertain. A 6-week group-based smoking cessation treatment with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in the form of nicotine patches was implemented in seven male prison facilities, in the Northeast, among smokers who were born biologically as male. Exhaled breath carbon monoxide (CO) levels were collected from participants at each session to confirm smoking status. Participants were evaluated at the 1-month post-group treatment follow-up to determine abstinence. Those who were lost to follow-up were recorded as continued smoking and not using NRT nicotine patches. The goal of the study was to explore the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of conducting a smoking cessation treatment program for incarcerated smokers. A total of 350 inmates were screened, 177 inmates were enrolled across the prison sites for the 6-week program, and 102 inmates completed the program. A majority of those enrolled reported that they began smoking when they were between 15 and 19 years of age (44.9%) and were smoking on average for 26 years. Less than half (21.3%) reported ever using electronic cigarettes at baseline and in Session 1,116 individuals who attended reported a median CO level of 18.0 parts per million (ppm). At a 1-month follow-up, 43 individuals reported a median CO level of 5.00 ppm. The study demonstrated preliminary efficacy and feasibility of group-based smoking cessation treatment with NRT nicotine patches in incarcerated smokers.

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