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Addict Behav. 2004 Feb;29(2):425-31.

Smoking among female prisoners: an ignored public health epidemic.

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Department of Psychiatry, Campus of the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, P.O. Box 980109, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.


The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) surveyed 866 female prisoners about tobacco use and interest in a smoking cessation program. The 27-item questionnaire assessed basic demographic information; type of tobacco used, amounts and frequency of use, triggers for use, health status, family tobacco use and health status, money spent on tobacco products, cessation attempts, motivation and self-efficacy for smoking cessation, and interest in participating in a smoking cessation program. The majority of female inmates (73.9%) were current tobacco users and 71.5% smoked cigarettes, with a mean of 14.6 cigarettes per day (cpd). Approximately 12.5% of current smokers reported a tobacco-related medical problem. Most (60.6%) had made at least one attempt to quit smoking and only 24.5% felt "very confident" that they could quit if they made an attempt. Overall, 64.2% of the smokers reported interest in participating in the smoking cessation program, with heavier smokers (71.4%) reporting the most interest in enrolling in the program. The high percentage of current tobacco users, high level of interest in smoking cessation, and presence of smoking-related health problems indicate a tremendous public and correctional health problem that is being ignored.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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