Cigarette smoking, nicotine dependence, and motivation to quit smoking in South African male psychiatric inpatients

Du Plooy, Jean-Louis ; Macharia, Muiruri (2016-11)

CITATION: Du Plooy, J. L. & Macharia, M. 2016. Cigarette smoking, nicotine dependence, and motivation to quit smoking in South African male psychiatric inpatients. BMC Psychiatry, 16:403, doi:10.1186/s12888-016-1123-z.

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Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.


Background: Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide and the prevalence is particularly high among psychiatric patients but recent international studies demonstrated that psychiatric patients are able and motivated to quit. The aim of this study was to evaluate cigarette smoking, nicotine dependence, and motivation for smoking cessation in male psychiatric inpatients in a sample of South African acute-care male psychiatric inpatients. Methods: All inpatients admitted during a 2-month period (April to May 2016) to the Stikland Hospital Acute Male Admissions Unit in Cape Town, Western Cape, were included. Subjects completed a survey including a set of tests: Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND), and the Decisional Balance for Cigarette Smoking (DBCS) (6-item version). Demographic data were obtained from patients’ clinical charts. Results: Among the 160 new inpatients, 72.5% (n = 116) completed the survey. Of the 116 participants, 91.4% (n = 106) were current smokers of whom 82% (n = 87) smoked daily and 55.6% (n = 59) were identified as having high nicotine dependence (FTND ≥ 6). Although a large majority (71.7%; n = 76) of current smokers expressed positive perceptions regarding smoking, a notable proportion (59.4%; n = 63) still attempted to quit the habit in the preceding 12 months and daily smokers were less likely to quit. However, only a minor proportion of all current (43.4%; n = 46) and specifically daily (40.2%; n = 35) smokers were advised on smoking cessation by a health worker. Conclusion: This study confirms that, similar to populations elsewhere, rates of cigarette smoking among psychiatric inpatients in South Africa is exceedingly high. While patients are motivated to quit smoking, few were provided with the necessary advice. Our findings provide further support for the integration of smoking cessation support in mental health care.

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