The aim of the study was, despite the special characteristics of prisons, to identify the features which led prisoners who attended the Smoking Cessation Centre at the Kassavetia Detention Centre in Volos (region of Thessaly, in the central part of mainland Greece) to quit smoking.
Personal interviews with 204 male prisoners irrespective of smoking habitus over the period June 2008 to December 2010 were obtained. Information about medical history, history of tobacco use and addiction to narcotic use was obtained and imprisonment status was recorded. Pharmaceutical treatment (Varenicline) and counselling or only counselling were suggested as alternative strategies to them in order to help quit smoking.
Of the sample examined, 75.5% (154) were smokers. They were mainly Greeks (51.5%), single (53.4%) and had not gratuated from a high school ( secondary education level ) (70.6%). 59.75% begun smoking early ( [less than or equal to]14years of age ) and 64.9% were highly addicted. 74% (114) of all smokers at the prison attended the Smoking Cessation Centre. Of them, 30.7% were able to quit smoking but 1 year later there were 20.2% ex-smokers. The key characteristics of those who were able to be ex-smokers were a change in smoking habits compared to when free (p=.001), previous attempts to quit (p=.001), average dependence levels (p[less than].001), started smoking after 21years of age (p=.032), no history of addictive substance use (p=.029), being already prisoners for a longer period of time (p=.019), a limited number of prisoners per cell (p[less than].001) and in particular other smokers in the cell (p[less than].001).
Average dependence, a past free of addictive substance abuse and a better environment of daily living for certain prisoners (as far as the number of cellmates was concerned) had a catalytic impact on prisoners finally managed to quit smoking.