Background: Smoking is the second major mortality risk factor globally. People with severe mental illness are two to three times more likely to smoke cigarettes than those without mental illness. This study aimed to reduce cigarette consumption by smokers with schizophrenia. A combined intervention consisting of auricular acupressure and a smoking cessation education program (AASCEP) was given, and its effects were evaluated.
Methods: A quasi-experimental study was used. The experimental group received the AASCEP for eight weeks, whereas the control group did not. Outcomes were measured urine cotinine levels, psychiatric symptoms and heart rate variability (HRV) before and after the intervention and at 4 week follow-up.
Results: After the intervention, there were significant between-group difference in SDNN and HF of the HRV parameters, but not urine cotinine levels, psychiatric symptoms, LF and LF/HF ratio. A significant between-group difference in SDNN of the HRV parameters was also observed at followup. Smoking quit rates at the 8th and 12th weeks were 19.2% and 13.5%, respectively, for the experimental group. The improvements were superior in the experimental group.
Conclusion: This study supports the AASCEP could help people with schizophrenia to reduce cigarette consumption and improve autonomic modulation of the heart.
Shu-Li Cheng, Yu-Chu Chung, Nain-Feng Chu, Jiin-Ru Rong, Mei-Ling Yeh