Effectiveness of proactive Tobacco cessation treatment outreach among smokers with serious mental illness

Sandra J. Japuntich, Patrick J. Hammett, Erin S. Rogers, Steven Fu, Diana J. Burgess, Omar E.L. Shahawy, Anne C. Melzer, Siamak Noorbaloochi, Paul Krebs, Scott E. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: People with serious mental illness (SMI) have a high smoking prevalence and low quit rates. Few cessation treatments are tested in smokers with SMI. Mental health (MH) providers are reluctant to address smoking. Proactive tobacco cessation treatment strategies reach out directly to smokers to offer counseling and medication and improve treatment utilization and quit rates. The current study is a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial of proactive outreach for tobacco cessation treatment in VA MH patients. Aims and Methods: Participants (N = 1938, 83% male, mean age 55.7) across four recruitment sites, who were current smokers and had a MH visit in the past 12 months, were identified using the electronic medical record. Participants were randomized to Intervention (telephone outreach call plus invitation to engage in MH tailored telephone counseling and assistance obtaining nicotine replacement therapy) or Control (usual care). The current study assessed outcomes in participants with SMI (N = 982). Results: Compared to the Control group, participants assigned to the Intervention group were more likely to engage in telephone counseling (22% vs. 3%) and use nicotine replacement therapy (51% vs. 41%). Participants in the Intervention group were more likely to be abstinent (7-day point prevalence; 18%) at 12 months than participants in the Control group (11%) but equally likely to make quit attempts. Conclusions: Proactive tobacco cessation treatment is an effective strategy for tobacco users with SMI. Proactive outreach had a particularly strong effect on counseling utilization. Future randomized clinical trials examining proactive tobacco treatment approaches in SMI treatment settings are needed. Implications: Few effective treatment models exist for smokers with SMI. Proactive tobacco cessation outreach with connections to MH tailored telephone counseling and medication promotes tobacco abstinence among smokers with SMI and is an effective treatment strategy for this underserved population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1433-1438
Number of pages6
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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