Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. The effect of smoking in those with coronary artery disease (CAD) is particularly powerful given that at hospital admission, 27-36% of these patients are active smokers which is much higher than in the general population (<18%).1-3While smoking rates have declined in the U.S., this has not been observed in cardiac populations. Continued smoking after hospitalization also predicts additional negative outcomes such as lack of engagement in comprehensive secondary prevention for example cardiac rehabilitation (CR).4 Smoking may also directly impede improvements in fitness which is a critical predictor of recovery in this population and thus crucial to examine.5-7 Surprisingly, having a serious cardiac event, such as a myocardial infarction (MI) may not be enough to promote sustained cessation.8 Thus, promoting adherence to smoking cessation guidelines in this population is of utmost importance.9
Acute cardiac hospitalization does provide an ideal opportunity to intervene on smoking.10 Patients are required to abstain from smoking while hospitalized and are often motivated to quit. Unfortunately, less than a quarter of patients receive Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) in-hospital and even fewer receive support after discharge. 11,12 For most patients, follow-up care may not occur for 4-6 weeks and most patients relapse to smoking within the first few weeks.11,13 Ideally, intensive intervention would be started in-hospital and continue after discharge, bridging this post-hospital gap in care.
Financial incentives (FI) for objectively verified smoking abstinence is highly effective in promoting smoking cessation in medically vulnerable populations, but, to the Investigators knowledge, has not been tested in patients with CVD.14.15 NRT is safe in cardiac patients, but is rarely prescribed or offered in a manner that maximizes efficacy (i.e., combination short and long-acting NRT).16 Building on our strong published and preliminary data, the investigators hypothesize that a combined behavioral and pharmacologic smoking cessation intervention started in hospital and continued remotely can bridge the post-hospital care gap and support patients through a critical period in cardiac recovery where risk of smoking relapse is high.
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