Smoking Cessation in Substance Use Treatment Services: Staff and Client Perspectives

Author: Zoe Swithenbank Lorna Porcellato Gordon Hay Paula Watson

Theme: Epidemiology & Public Health Research Year: 2022

Smoking prevalence among adults in substance use treatment is estimated at between 74% and 98%
(Thurgood et al, 2016), putting them at a much greater risk of tobacco related morbidity and
mortality than the wider population. Research suggests that behavioural interventions can be
effective (Hartmann-Boyce et al, 2021), yet more research is needed on the content of these
interventions in this population. It is important to gather perspectives from both staff and service
users in order to ensure the acceptability as well as the effectiveness of any proposed intervention.
This study took a qualitative approach, with semi structured interviews conducted with both staff
and service users in substance use treatment. 17 interviews took place either face to face or via
video conference, with participants asked about their experiences and perceptions of smoking
cessation interventions in this setting, as well as suggestions for future interventions. Interviews
were transcribed verbatim, removing any identifiable data, imported into NVivo and analysed
thematically (Clarke & Braun, 2017).
The key themes that were identified included the role of the treatment service; risk prioritization;
barriers and facilitators to smoking cessation in substance use treatment services; and content and
acceptability of interventions. These will be discussed and illustrated with relevant quotes from
Despite differing opinions on the role of the treatment service in offering smoking cessation, both
staff and service users broadly agreed that this is an important issue and one that should be more
consistently addressed. The need for an intervention to be acceptable as well as effective was
echoed by many participants, suggesting that further research is needed into the appropriate
components of a behavioural intervention which can be implemented here to reduce the harms of
tobacco smoking in this population.
Disclosure of Interest Statement:
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

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