Acceptance and commitment therapy smoking cessation treatment for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: a pilot study

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Substance Abuse and Addiction


OBJECTIVE: Veterans with PTSD smoke at rates two to three times higher than the general population, while their quit rate is less than half that of the general population. The present study evaluated the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Tobacco Addiction (ACT-PT), which focuses on helping veterans overcome emotional challenges to quitting smoking.

METHODS: Veterans with current PTSD who smoked 15 or more cigarettes/day (N = 19) participated in an open trial of ACT-PT. Participants attended nine weekly individual counseling sessions and received eight weeks of nicotine patch therapy. Primary outcomes included feasibility and acceptability of the intervention, and secondary outcomes included expired-air carbon monoxide confirmed seven-day point prevalence abstinence, cravings, and PTSD symptoms.

RESULTS: The retention rate for ACT-PT was good (74%) and client satisfaction ratings were high. Participants made multiple quit attempts (M = 3.6, SD = 4.2) during the study period and were significantly more confident that they could quit smoking at three-month follow-up. At the end of treatment, 37% of participants were abstinent from smoking and 16% were abstinent at three-month follow-up. Overall, participants reduced their smoking by 62% at the end of treatment and 43% at three-month follow-up. PTSD symptoms and smoking urges significantly decreased from baseline to the end of treatment and three-month follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: ACT-PT appears to be a promising smoking cessation treatment for veterans with PTSD. Future research should evaluate ACT-PT in a randomized controlled trial.

DOI of Published Version



Kelly MM, Sido H, Forsyth JP, Ziedonis DM, Kalman D, Cooney JL. Acceptance and commitment therapy smoking cessation treatment for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: a pilot study. J Dual Diagn. 2015;11(1):50-5. doi: 10.1080/15504263.2014.992201. PubMed PMID: 25491589. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of dual diagnosis

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID