Smoking Behavior and Readiness to Change in Male Veterans With Spinal Cord Injuries

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ObjectivesLittle is known about psychological factors associated with tobacco use in persons with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI&D).MethodVeterans with SCI&D 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.ResultsOf 684 respondents, 19% were current smokers. They were younger (Ms = 56.4 vs. 63.3 years; p < .0001) and were more prone to alcohol use, depression, and posttraumatic 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.DiscussionMore 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 are suggested for those not yet ready to quit.

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