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Smoking rates in people with depression and anxiety are twice as high as in the general population, even though people with depression and anxiety are motivated to stop smoking. Most healthcare professionals are aware that stopping smoking is one of the greatest changes that people can make to improve their health. However, smoking cessation can be a difficult topic to raise. Evidence suggests that smoking may cause some mental health problems, and that the tobacco withdrawal cycle partly contributes to worse mental health. By stopping smoking, a person's mental health may improve, and the size of this improvement might be equal to taking antidepressants. In this article we outline ways in which healthcare professionals can compassionately and respectfully raise the topic of smoking to encourage smoking cessation. We draw on evidence-based methods such as cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) and outline approaches that healthcare professionals can use to integrate these methods into routine care to help their patients stop smoking.
Reducing saturated fat (SFA) intake can lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol and thereby cardiovascular disease (CVD) but there are no brief interventions sufficiently scalable to achieve this. The Primary Care Shopping Intervention for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention (PC-SHOP) study developed and tested a behavioural intervention to provide health professional (HP) advice alone or in combination with personalised feedback on food shopping, which was delivered using a bespoke tool that created a nutritional profile of the grocery shopping based on loyalty card data from the UK largest supermarket.
Participants with raised LDL-cholesterol were randomly allocated to one of three groups: ‘No Intervention’ (n = 17), ‘Brief Support’ (BS, n = 48), ‘Brief Support plus Shopping Feedback’ (BSSF, n = 48). BS consisted of a 10-minute consultation with a nurse to inform and motivate participants to reduce their SFA intake. The BSSF group received brief support as well as personalised feedback on the SFA content of their grocery shopping including lower SFA swaps. The primary outcome was the between-group difference in the change between baseline and 3 months in SFA intake (% total energy intake) adjusted for baseline SFA intake and GP practice. The trial was powered to detect a reduction in SFA of 3% (SD3).
There was no evidence of a difference between the groups. Changes in SFA intake from baseline to follow-up were: -0.7% (SD3.5) in BS, -0.9% (SD3.6) in BSSF and -0.1% (SD3.3) with no intervention. Compared to no intervention, the adjusted difference in SFA intake was -0.33%; 95%CI -2.11, 1.44 with BS and -0.11%; 95%CI -1.92, 1.69 with BSSF. There was no significant difference in total energy intake (BS: -152kcal; 95%CI -513, 209; BSSF: -152kcal; 95%CI -516, 211); body weight (BS: -1.0 kg; 95%CI -2.5, 0.5; BSSF: -0.6 kg 95%CI -2.1, 1.0); or LDL-cholesterol (BS: -0.15mmol/L; 95%CI -0.47, 0.16; BSSF: -0.04mmol/L; 95%CI -0.28, 0.36) compared to no intervention.
This trial shows that it is feasible to deliver brief advice in primary care to encourage reductions in SFA intake and we have developed a system to provide personalised advice to encourage healthier choices using supermarket loyalty data. This small trial showed no evidence of large benefits but we are unable to exclude more modest benefits. Even a reduction of 1% in SFA intake when replaced by polyunsaturated fat may reduce CVD incidence by 8%, suggesting that a larger trial to assess whether benefits of this size may occur is now warranted.
Violators of cooperation norms may be informally punished by their peers. How such norm enforcement is judged by others can be regarded as a meta-norm (i.e., a second-order norm). We examined whether meta-norms about peer punishment vary across cultures by having students in eight countries judge animations in which an agent who over-harvested a common resource was punished either by a single peer or by the entire peer group. Whether the punishment was retributive or restorative varied between two studies, and findings were largely consistent across these two types of punishment. Across all countries, punishment was judged as more appropriate when implemented by the entire peer group than by an individual. Differences between countries were revealed in judgments of punishers vs. non-punishers. Specifically, appraisals of punishers were relatively negative in three Western countries and Japan, and more neutral in Pakistan, UAE, Russia, and China, consistent with the influence of individualism, power distance, and/or indulgence. Our studies constitute a first step in mapping how meta-norms vary around the globe, demonstrating both cultural universals and cultural differences.
Aims: To review population surveys to assess (a) prevalence of the use of NRT for smoking reduction (SR) and temporary abstinence (TA) and (b) how far this is associated with attempts to stop smoking, smoking cessation and reduction in cigarette consumption.
Methods: An electronic search was undertaken of EMBASE, MEDLINE, Web of Science and PsycINFO. Articles were selected if they (1) assessed whether smokers had used or were currently using NRT for SR and/or TA; (2) involved smokers who had not taken part in a harm reduction programme; and (3) assessed prevalence and/or association of SR and/or TA with reductions in cigarette consumption and/or attempts to stop smoking and/or with smoking cessation. Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria and results were extracted independently by two researchers.
Results: Data were available from five countries (US, UK, Canada, Switzerland and Australia). Between 1% and 23% of smokers reported having ever used NRT for smoking reduction and between 2% and 14% during periods of temporary abstinence. Use of NRT for SR and/or TA was associated with little or no reduction in cigarette consumption. There was some evidence that it was positively associated with attempts to stop smoking and smoking cessation.
Conclusion: In smoking populations use of NRT to aid SR and in situations where smoking is not permitted appears to be having little effect on achieving a reduction in cigarette consumption but does not undermine cessation and may promote it.
Despite a lack of empirical evidence, many smokers and health professionals believe that tobacco smoking reduces anxiety, which may deter smoking cessation.
The study aim was to assess whether successful smoking cessation or relapse to smoking after a quit attempt are associated with changes in anxiety.
A total of 491 smokers attending National Health Service smoking cessation clinics in England were followed up 6 months after enrolment in a trial of pharmacogenetic tailoring of nicotine replacement therapy (ISRCTN14352545).
There was a points difference of 11.8 (95% CI 7.7-16.0) in anxiety score 6 months after cessation between people who relapsed to smoking and people who attained abstinence. This reflected a three-point increase in anxiety from baseline for participants who relapsed and a nine-point decrease for participants who abstained. The increase in anxiety in those who relapsed was largest for those with a current diagnosis of psychiatric disorder and whose main reason for smoking was to cope with stress. The decrease in anxiety on abstinence was larger for these groups also.
People who achieve abstinence experience a marked reduction in anxiety whereas those who fail to quit experience a modest increase in the long term. These data contradict the assumption that smoking is a stress reliever, but suggest that failure of a quit attempt may generate anxiety.