The implementation of a smoking cessation and alcohol abstinence intervention for people experiencing homelessness

  • Rebekah J Pratt (Creator)
  • Serena Xiong (Creator)
  • Azul Kmiecik (Creator)
  • Cathy Strobel-Ayres (Creator)
  • Anne Joseph (Creator)
  • Susan A. Everson Rose (Creator)
  • Xianghua Luo (Creator)
  • Ned Cooney (Creator)
  • Janet Thomas (Creator)
  • Shelia Specker (Creator)
  • Kola Okuyemi (Creator)



Abstract Background In the United States, eighty percent of the adult homeless population smokes cigarettes compared to 15 percent of the general population. In 2017 Power to Quit 2 (PTQ2), a randomized clinical trial, was implemented in two urban homeless shelters in the Upper Midwest to address concurrent smoking cessation and alcohol treatment among people experiencing homelessness. A subset of this study population were interviewed to assess their experiences of study intervention. The objective of this study was to use participants’ experiences with the intervention to inform future implementation efforts of combined smoking cessation and alcohol abstinence interventions, guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR). Methods Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 40 PTQ2 participants between 2016–2017 and analyzed in 2019. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using a socially constructivist approach to grounded theory. Results Participants described the PTQ2 intervention in positive terms. Participants valued the opportunity to obtain both counseling and nicotine-replacement therapy products (intervention characteristics) and described forming a bond with the PTQ2 staff and reliance on them for emotional support and encouragement (characteristics of individuals). However, the culture of alcohol use and cigarette smoking around the shelter environment presented a serious challenge (outer setting). The study setting and the multiple competing needs of participants were reported as the most challenging barriers to implementation (implementation process). Conclusion There are unique challenges in addressing smoking cessation with people experiencing homelessness. For those in shelters there can be the difficulty of pro-smoking norms in and around the shelter itself. Considering pairing cessation with policy level interventions targeting smoke-free spaces, or pairing cessation with housing support efforts may be worthwhile.. Participants described a discord in their personal goals of reduction compared with the study goals of complete abstinence, which may pose a challenge to the ways in which success is defined for people experiencing homelessness. Trial registration, NCT01932996 , registered 08/30/2013.
Date made available2022

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