Financial Strain Hinders Smoking Cessation

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An open package of cigarettes rests on top of some dollar bills.

Incorporating measures to help patients deal with financial strain might improve success rates of antismoking interventions, say researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. In a clinical trial with 320 low-income participants who intended to quit smoking, Dr. Darla Kendzor and colleagues found that greater financial stress corresponded with less smoking abstinence after treatment. At the start of treatment, which included the nicotine replacement patch, self-help materials, and counseling, the study participants provided information on their ability to afford basics such as food, clothing, housing, furniture, and major items such as a car. Abstinence rates 26 weeks after the patients’ designated quit dates ranged from 13 percent among the 25 percent of participants who reported the least financial stress to zero among the 25 percent who were most strained financially. Living with a spouse or partner somewhat offset the negative impact of moderate financial strain on smoking-cessation success. The Texas researchers suggest that helping patients deal with stress, solve problems, manage money, and review the financial burden of smoking might allay some of the negative impact of financial strain on smoking cessation.
American Journal of Public Health 100(4):702–706, 2010. [Full Text (PDF, 324KB)]