Perceived barriers to quitting cigarettes among hospitalized smokers with substance use disorders: A mixed methods study

Hasmeena Kathuria, Ryan G. Seibert, Vinson Cobb, Nicole Herbst, Zoe M. Weinstein, Minda Gowarty, Reha Jhunjhunwala, Eric D. Helm, Renda Soylemez Wiener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Aims: Smoking cessation may promote long-term recovery in patients with substance use disorders (SUD). Yet smoking rates remain alarmingly high in this population. Using a sequential explanatory mixed methods approach, we examined smoking rates among hospitalized patients with SUD at a large safety-net hospital, and then characterized factors associated with smoking behaviors both quantitatively and qualitatively. Method: We abstracted data from all hospital admissions (7/2016–6/2017) and determined demographics, substance use type, and other characteristics associated with cigarette use among those with SUD. We then conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews with 20 hospitalized SUD smokers. We analyzed transcripts to characterize factors that affect patients’ smoking habits, focusing on the constructs of the Health Belief Model. Results: The prevalence of cigarette smoking among hospitalized smokers with SUD was three times higher than those without SUD. Qualitative analyses showed that patients perceived that smoking cigarettes was a less serious concern than other substances. Some patients feared that quitting cigarettes could negatively impact their recovery and perceived that clinicians do not prioritize treating tobacco dependence. Almost all patients with heroin use disorder described how cigarette use potentiated their heroin high. Many SUD patients are turning to vaping and e-cigarettes to quit smoking. Conclusion: Hospitalized patients with SUD have disproportionately high smoking rates and perceive multiple barriers to quitting cigarettes. When designing and implementing smoking cessation interventions for hospitalized patients with SUD, policymakers should understand and take into account how patients with SUD perceive smoking-related health risks and how that influences their decision to quit smoking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Aug 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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