Barriers to telephone quitline use among methadone-maintained smokers

Judith L. Griffin, Kate S. Segal, Shadi Nahvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Introduction: Drug users have high rates of tobacco use and tobacco-related disease. Telephone quitlines promote smoking cessation, but their reach among drug users is unknown. We thus aimed to assess utilization of and barriers to telephone quitlines among methadone-maintained smokers. Methods: Subjects were opioid-dependent smokers in Bronx, New York, methadone treatment programs who were enrolled in a clinical trial of varenicline. All subjects were offered referral to a free, proactive quitline. We examined quitline records, surveyed barriers to quitline use, and queried reasons for declining referral. Results: Of the 112 subjects enrolled, 47% were male, 54% were Hispanic, and 28% were Black. All subjects were offered referral, and 25 (22% of study participants) utilized the quitline. Quitline utilizers (vs. nonutilizers) were significantly more likely to have landline phone service (72 vs. 42%, p =.01), interest in quitline participation (92 vs. 62%, p <.01), and willingness to receive calls (96 vs. 76%, p =.02). Nonutilizers were significantly more likely to report cell phone service lapse (38 vs. 14%, p =.04), and difficulty charging cell phones (19 vs. 0%, p =.02). Reasons for quitline refusal included: (a) skepticism of quitline efficacy; (b) aversion to telephone communication; (c) competing life demands (e.g., drug treatment, shelter); and (d) problems with cell phone service or minutes. Conclusions: Despite several limitations to quitline access among methadone-maintained smokers, routine quitline referral was associated with 22% utilization. To expand provision of smoking cessation treatment to opioid-dependent smokers, interventions to promote routine quitline referral in substance abuse treatment programs warrant investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)931-936
Number of pages6
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 22 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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