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Smoking behavior and readiness to change in male veterans with spinal cord injuries

Weaver FM, LaVela SL, Miskevics SA, Clemmons N, Janke EA, Spring B. Smoking behavior and readiness to change in male veterans with spinal cord injuries. Rehabilitation Psychology. 2007 Aug 1; 52(3):304-310.

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Objectives: Little is know about psychological factors associated with tobacco use in persons with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCIandD). Methods: Veterans with SCIandD who were current or past smokers were mailed survey questions about physical dependence on nicotine, motivation to smoke, readiness to quit, and use of tobacco cessation methods. Results: Of 684 respondents, 19% were current smokers. They were younger (M’s = 56.4 v. 63.3 years; p < 0.0001) and were more prone to alcohol use, depression and post-traumatic stress than past smokers. Past smokers most frequently quit on their own. Most current smokers had low addiction levels; 15% had medium and 27% had high levels; one-third were ready to make changes. Common smoking motives included relaxation, tension reduction, and psychological addiction. Discussion: More smokers than are offered may benefit from evidence-based, behavioral interventions. Treatment targeting self-efficacy enhancement is warranted for those ready to change; brief behavioral interventions such as stress management, ongoing monitoring, and feedback regarding current smoking status is suggested for those not yet ready.

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