Why Have We Quit Quitting?


The last two decades have seen an increase in the number of people who have quite smoking, but this increase has leveled out in American during recent years. Experts suggest this may be because some groups of people need a treatment approach that is tailored to their specific needs. The February issue of Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology explores what treatments may best help some of these under-served populations.

Smokers With Psychiatric Disorders

Smokers with an anxiety disorder have been found to be less likely to respond to treatment than smokers without a psychiatric disorder. In addition, different types of psychiatric disorders were related to different barriers to quitting smoking. Those who had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder reported feeling an emotional bond with their cigarettes, while those who had experienced a substance abuse disorder were more affected by social and environmental influences.

African-American Smokers

One study looked specifically at African-American smokers, who had rarely been studied as a group. The study compared participation in a health education series with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and found that CBT more than doubled the rate of smoking cessation at a follow-up six months later.

Latino Smokers

Another study examined the impact of focusing on the family's health needs as a way to tailor smoking cessation programs to the Latino population. The amount of secondhand smoke in the participants' homes was measured and the researcher told the participants how much smoke their asthmatic child was exposed to. Compared to a control group that received standard CBT, smokers in the experimental group were twice as likely to quit.

What Does This Mean?

Smoking cessation programs have been focused on the American population in general, but have overlooked many traditionally under-served populations. People in these groups may benefit from specialized treatment that more closely matches their needs. If traditional smoking cessation programs aren't working for you, you may want to consider a more tailored approach to treatment.


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