This investigation examined predictors of utilization of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) during a smoke-free psychiatric hospitalization.
Smokers (N=324) were recruited from smoke-free adult inpatient psychiatric units. Exploratory analyses examined correlates of NRT provision and utilization.
The prevalence of NRT use was 51% overall and was greater among patients offered NRT on admission (58%) versus later (34%), among patients with more severe depression and nicotine withdrawal, and among those who reported perceptions that NRT decreases nicotine withdrawal, provides a nicotine substitute, and helps with quitting smoking (p<.05, all comparisons). Although the ratio of nicotine patch dose to usual cigarettes per day was 1.2±.7, the ratio was negatively correlated with time to first cigarette (Spearman’s ρ=–.30, p<.01), suggesting potential underdosing of more dependent smokers.
During smoke-free psychiatric hospitalizations, clinical management of nicotine withdrawal may be enhanced by offering patients NRT directly on admission, educating patients on the benefits of NRT, and increasing the dosage for more dependent smokers.