Factors impeding psychiatrists from promoting smoking cessation among people with serious mental illness–A mixed methods study

Jennifer Kertes*, Yehuda Neumark, Leon Grunhaus, Orit Stein-Reisner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Psychiatrists' beliefs and behaviors regarding smoking cessation promotion among people with serious mental illness (PWSMI) have been cited as a barrier for PWSMI achieving successful abstinence. A mixed methods approach was employed to evaluate beliefs and practices of psychiatrists affiliated with a large HMO in Israel regarding smoking cessation among PWSMI. Fifty psychiatrists (43% response rate) completed a telephone survey and thirty psychiatrists interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Most of the psychiatrists (84%) saw smoking cessation promotion as part of their role, but in-depth interviews revealed that only a third were routinely pro-active, with over half believing that few PWSMI are willing or capable of quitting smoking. Most of the study population felt that an attempt to quit smoking would not adversely affect their patients' mental health status, but many raised concerns regarding the safety of smoking cessation medications (SCM) amongst PWSMI. Factors associated with pro-active practice were knowledge regarding services and SCM, characteristics of patient caseload (proportion low-functioning) and psychiatrist’s smoking behavior. Psychiatrist-targeted interventions highlighting safety of SCM and promoting referral to smoking cessation services are indicated. Offering PWSMI-specific harm reduction as a first step to abstinence may offer psychiatrists an acceptable treatment alternative for the low-functioning patient.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health
StatePublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors report no conflict of interest. The study was carried out with the support of the Maccabi Research Fund (#41-2016). Two of the authors (#1 & #4 were employees of Maccabi HealthCare at the time of the study. Beyond initial approval of the study, Maccabi HealthCare Services and Maccabi Research Fund had no input into the data gathering process, analysis or the writing of the article presented here.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Smoking cessation
  • health promotion
  • mixed-methods
  • psychiatrists
  • serious mental illness


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