A qualitative study of using nicotine products for smoking cessation after discharge from residential drug and alcohol treatment in Australia

Joshua Trigg, Jane Rich, Edwina Williams, Amanda L. Baker, Linda Bauld, Ron Borland, Chris Bullen, Mark Daglish, Adrian Dunlop, Coral Gartner, David Jacka, Dan Lubman, Victoria Manning, Rose McCrohan, Cathy Segan, Natalie Walker, Billie Bonevski

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Introduction: Tobacco smoking is highly prevalent among alcohol and other drugs (AOD) service clients and, despite interest in quitting, abstinence is rarely sustained. Nicotine products may assist after discharge from residential treatment services, but little is known about client receptivity to them. This study examined AOD withdrawal service clients' experiences of two types of nicotine products for smoking cessation post-discharge, combination nicotine replacement therapy (cNRT) and nicotine vaping products (NVP).

Methods: We held semi-structured telephone interviews with 31 Australian AOD service clients in a clinical trial of a 12-week smoking cessation intervention using Quitline support plus cNRT or NVP delivered post-discharge from a smoke-free residential service. We asked about health and social factors, nicotine cravings, Quitline experience, and barriers and facilitators to cNRT or NVP, then thematically analysed data.

Results: cNRT and NVP were described by participants as feasible and acceptable for smoking cessation. For most participants, cost limited cNRT access post study, as did difficulty navigating NVP prescription access. Quitline support was valued, but not consistently used, with participants noting low assistance with NVP-facilitated cessation. Participants considered both cessation methods acceptable and socially supported, and sought information on decreasing nicotine use via NVP.

Discussion and Conclusions: AOD service clients highly valued receiving cNRT or NVP with behavioural support for smoking reduction or abstinence. Both interventions were acceptable to service clients. Findings suggest a potential need to examine both whether NVP use should be permitted in this context, and guidance on the individual suitability of cNRT or NVP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1116-1131
Number of pages16
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number5
Early online date23 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2024


  • alcohol and other drugs
  • nicotine replacement therapy
  • smoking cessation
  • vaping
  • withdrawal treatment


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