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Nicotine Tob Res. 2015 Aug;17(8):996-1001. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntv062.

Homeless Clients Benefit From Smoking Cessation Treatment Delivered by a Homeless Persons' Program.

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Quit Victoria, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Centre for Health Policy, School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Quit Victoria, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Australia;



Few homeless programs offer smoking cessation treatment. This study examined the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of a smoking cessation treatment model delivered by staff of a homeless persons' program.


Fourteen nurses from Melbourne's Royal District Nursing Service Homeless Persons' Program recruited 49 clients into a 12-week program offering weekly nurse-delivered smoking cessation appointments with intermittent carbon monoxide measurements, doctor-prescribed free nicotine patch, bupropion or varenicline, and Quitline phone support. Surveys were completed at program enrolment, end of program (EoP, 3 months) and 6 months post-enrolment.


Clients attended on average 6.7 nurse-delivered appointments. Most used pharmacotherapy (69%, n = 34) and Quitline (61%, n = 30, average 8.4 calls among users). Using all-cases analyses 29% had made a quit attempt by EoP; 24-hour point prevalence abstinence rates were 6% at EoP and 4% at 6 months (no participants achieved sustained cessation), and 29% reported 50% consumption reduction at 6 months, the latter positively associated with increased Quitline use. Tobacco consumption and money spent on tobacco halved by EoP with similar levels maintained at 6 months. Discarded butt smoking reduced. Using within-subjects analyses, all participants reported either the same or less symptoms of anxiety at EoP compared to baseline and 92% reported the same or less depressive symptoms.


Integrating nurse support with readily accessible cessation interventions (government subsidized pharmacotherapy plus Quitline) was feasible and acceptable. While quit rates were low, treatment benefits included harm-reduction (reduced consumption and butt smoking), significant financial savings, and psychological benefits (improved or stable mood).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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