Motivating smokers with mental illness to quit found to be more effective than educational intervention

Significantly more individuals who smoke that have a mental illness made an attempt to quit after receiving a single 45-minute counseling session compared to those who received an interactive educational intervention. The researchers randomized 98 smokers with serious mental illness to receive either the counseling session or the interactive educational intervention. They found that a significantly greater portion of the patients who received motivational interviewing made an attempt to quit by the 1-month follow-up. The findings suggest that motivational interviewing may be the key to having people with mental illnesses quit smoking.

The researchers say that people who have mental illnesses are less likely to quit compared to those who don’t. Therefore, using motivational interviewing might be the most effective way to get these patients to quit smoking.

I think this article is interesting because it shows the effectiveness of motivational interviewing that we learned about in Community Health 2. Since people told us it is useful, it was cool to find a study that actually showed its effectiveness. Moreover, I think it is also interesting that researchers are trying to determine the best ways to motivate people to see which methods are most effective. My question for the class is: How do you think pharmacists can implement motivational interviewing into their practice?


Marc L. Steinberg, Jill M. Williams, Naomi F. Stahl, Patricia Dooley Budsock, Nina A. Cooperman. An Adaptation of Motivational Interviewing Increases Quit Attempts in Smokers With Serious Mental IllnessNicotine & Tobacco Research, 2016; 18 (3): 243 DOI:10.1093/ntr/ntv043

2 thoughts on “Motivating smokers with mental illness to quit found to be more effective than educational intervention”

  1. I think motivational interviewing is a beneficial counseling method to improve the likelihood of smokers with serious mental illnesses from quitting. Having the smokers set their own goals and find their intrinsic motivation could be the key to the results of this study. I am curious to find out how the smokers will maintain their abstinence and the long-term outcomes.

  2. I agree and think it’s great to see an example of how the motivational interviewing techniques we learned can really have a positive impact on patients. One way pharmacists can use motivational interviewing is for adherence. Using the techniques we learned would have much more positive results than just telling a patient to take their medication because it is important. By having an understanding of who the patient is and and motivating them to take their medication, we can increase the number of patients who are always adherent to their medications.

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