Background: The prevalence of smoking is much higher in prisoners than it is in the general population. Prisoners who smoke cause many health problems for themselves and other prisoners. Therefore, we should help them stop smoking.  

Objective: To compare the effects of motivational interviewing-based (MI-based) treatment and its combination with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) on smoking cessation in prisoners at Mashhad Central Prison. 

Methods: The study was designed as a double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial, and it began in February 2013 and ended in February 2014. Two hundred and thirteen prisoners met the inclusion criteria and were enrolled in the study. They were divided randomly into three groups, i.e., MI-based treatment, MI with NRT, and the control group, which didn’t receive any therapy. The outcome measures were reported after intervention and at a 90-day follow-up, and changes in the CO levels in expired air and nicotine dependency were measured.

Results: The average age of the subjects was 37.59 ± 8.76, and their mean duration of imprisonment was 3.3 ± 1.90 years. They smoked an average of 21.84 ± 8.72 cigarettes per day. Analysis of the concentration of CO in expired air in the pre-test, post-test, and at the follow-up for the three groups showed that the variations in the mean CO concentrations in the MI group and the MI with NRT group at the pre-test and at the post-test were statistically significant (p < 0.001), but no significant changes occurred between the post-test and the follow-up (p > 0.050). In addition, the results indicated that CO concentration in expired air in the MI with NRT group was statistically significant, with better efficacy of smoking cessation, compared with control group and the MI group after the follow-up (p = 0.02).

Conclusions: Motivational interviewing combined with NRT for smoking cessation is more effective than MI alone, and it resulted in a significant decrease in the CO concentration in expired air at the 90-day follow-up.

Trial registration: The trial is registered at the Thai Clinical Trial Registry with the TCR identification number TCTR20150724001

Funding: This research was supported by the Educational and Research Centre, District XI of State Prisons, Mashhad, Iran.


Keywords: motivational interviewing, nicotine replacement therapy, smoking cessation, prisoners
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