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Identifying & overcoming barriers to smoking cessation in rheumatoid arthritis

26 months
Approved budget:
Professor Lisa Stamp
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Health Delivery Research Partnership Project
Lay summary
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common chronic disease resulting in joint damage requiring joint replacement surgery, disability and increased mortality due to cardiovascular disease. Smoking has recently been shown to be a powerful environmental risk factor for onset of RA. Smoking also results in worse disease outcomes and reduces the efficacy of medications used to treat RA. These effects, together with the increase in cardiovascular deaths make smoking cessation the most important modifiable lifestyle factor in RA. Such lifestyle changes are particularly difficult for patients living with the stress of a painful chronic disease. This project will explore the knowledge and beliefs of patients with RA in relation to smoking as it affects their condition. Specific arthritis-related factors that contribute to difficulties with smoking cessation will be explored. A RA-specific smoking cessation programme will then be developed based on the findings and piloted in patients with RA with the help of Arthritis New Zealand.