Research

Challenges for dedicated smoking cessation services in developing countries

G Y Tadzimirwa, C Day, A Esmail, C Cooper, M Kamkuemah, K Dheda, R N van Zyl-Smit

Abstract


Background. South Africa, ranked as the world’s second most stressful country to live in, has an estimated 7 million smokers. A dedicated smoking cessation clinic established at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, provides the only clinical service and training centre in the country.

Objectives. To evaluate the smokers attending the clinic, in order to better understand the requirements of smoking cessation services in resource-limited settings.

Methods. Demographic and smoking-related data were collected prospectively from all clinic attendees since its inception. Nicotine dependence, depression scores and exhaled carbon monoxide levels were formally evaluated. Consent was provided to review the data collected.

Results. Ninety-seven smokers were evaluated. Their mean (standard deviation) age was 50.9 (10.7) years, and 59% (57/97) were male. The median age of smoking initiation was 16 years (interquartile range (IQR) 8 - 28), with a current median daily consumption of 12 cigarettes (IQR 7 - 20). Overall, men smoked more than women, with a median of 20 cigarettes per day (IQR 10 - 20) v. 12 (IQR 5 - 20), respectively (p=0.001). The median Fagerström nicotine dependence score was 5 (IQR 3 - 7), with scores of 6 (IQR 4 - 8) for men and 5 (2 - 7) for women (p=0.06); 50% of smokers had a Fagerström score <6 (low to above-average dependence) and 22% a score ≥8 (extreme dependence). The median Patient Health Questionnnaire-9 (PHQ-9) depression score was 8 (IQR 4 - 11), and 49% of smokers had symptoms of at least minor depression (score ≥10). The clinic could not provide pharmacotherapy. The self-reported quit rate was 28% at median follow-up of 22 months (IQR 14 - 39).

Conclusions. In smokers attempting to quit, moderate levels of nicotine dependence coexist with significant depression and anxiety symptoms. These data inform resource allocation and public health strategies, suggesting that in resource-limited smoking cessation services, psychological/behavioural support focusing on depressive symptoms may be a greater priority than simple pharmacotherapy.

 


Authors' affiliations

G Y Tadzimirwa, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

C Day, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

A Esmail, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

C Cooper, Division of Nursing, E16 Respiratory Clinic, Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

M Kamkuemah, Division of Public Health Medicine, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

K Dheda, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; University of Cape Town Lung Institute, South Africa

R N van Zyl-Smit, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; University of Cape Town Lung Institute, South Africa

Full Text

PDF (567KB)

Keywords

Tobacco dependence; Smoking cessation; Health systems

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2019;109(6):431-436. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2019.v109i6.13631

Article History

Date submitted: 2019-05-31
Date published: 2019-05-31

Article Views

Abstract views: 372
Full text views: 187

Comments on this article

*Read our policy for posting comments here