Smoking reduction in psychiatric inpatients – Greece


The intervention aimed to help patients admitted to a non-smoking psychiatric ward to reduce the amount of cigarettes they smoke and cope with smoking cessation. A prospective naturalistic study of smoking avoidance measures was conducted in the 2nd Department of Psychiatry of Attikon University Hospital in Athens. The nursing staff advised all tobacco users to reduce or quit smoking, assessed readiness and if the patient was willing to do it, and provided resources and assistance. The nursing staff assisted every smoker to a) remove tobacco products from his/her environment and monitor their use; b) get support from family and friends; c) review past reduction/quit attempts; d) anticipate challenges, including nicotine withdrawal, stress and mood states, particularly during the critical first few weeks; and e) identify reasons and benefits of reducing/quitting. If the patient was unwilling to reduce/quit at this time, the nursing staff helped to motivate the patient by identifying reasons for smoking cessation in a supportive manner, focusing on a) the indication why reducing/quitting was personally relevant, b) the positive and negative consequences, and c) the identification of potential benefits and potential barriers and build patient’s confidence about reducing/quitting. Subsequently, the patient was encouraged and helped to explore alternative coping strategies (e.g. relaxation, exercise and creative pursuits). Additionally, nursing staff were always available to maintain a sustained contact using cognitive communication approaches. Before the patient’s discharge, the nursing staff discussed the patient’s progress and experiences so far and checked his/her attitude towards smoking. Results showed that this simple intervention, most of the smokers (83.5%) managed to reduce their cigarette consumption per day. Female inpatients benefited more than males from the intervention. Staff generally anticipated more smoking-related problems than actually occurred. The study showed that when the medical and nursing staff made consistent yet simple efforts in order to help patients, their smoking was substantially curtailed. Findings indicate that seriously mentally ill psychiatric inpatients despite negative preconceptions and stereotypes are able to reduce their smoking easily without side effects with minimal intervention.


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(last accessed in March 2017)

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Life Cycle Stages: Older People (>65 yrs) | Seniors (>75 yrs) | The Young Old (50-65 yrs) | Work Life | 
Main Settings: healthcare services | 
Specific Topics: substance abuse | 

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