Effects of Nature Exposure on Smoking Behavior

Overview

Smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S. While smoking is a significant threat to public health in the US in general, the negative effects of smoking disproportionately affect Americans with 12 or fewer years of education and those living below the poverty line. Given these health disparities, it is vital to have widely-available treatments that can be applied in multiple contexts in a cost-efficient way. While numerous methodologies and intervention programs exist, there is a need for improved cessation programs targeted to smokers with low levels of education attainment and income, as these smokers tend to be less likely to receive cessation assistance from a health care provider or have sufficient resources to access treatments. Therefore, the present proposal aims to assess the feasibility of a tool that will improve smoking cessation programs in a short and cost-effective manner: a brief exposure to nature.

The health and wellbeing benefits of nature exposure have been well researched and are widely recognized, and research on the underlying mechanism for nature's positive impact on health has identified a reduction in impulsivity as a mediator of this effect. However, this work has never been directly translated to smoking outcomes, and thus the translational purpose of the present project is to assess the feasibility of a brief and cost-effective nature exposure intervention on smoking cessation outcomes. Prior work demonstrates the validity of the causal links in the nature -> impulsivity -> smoking cessation model. Research has shown that nature exposure reduces impulsivity for health-related outcomes, and found that increased impulsivity is linked to all stages of smoking. A necessary step in developing a practical application for this research is the aim of the present project.

Smokers will be recruited online and randomly assigned to either the Nature or Control condition. Participants in the Nature condition will be given a nature-based intervention, while participants in the Control condition will be given a non-nature-based intervention. Participants will be contacted via text message throughout the following 24 hours and asked to report their degree of urgency to smoke and number of cigarettes smoked. Participants will complete measurements of impulsivity, income, socio-economic status, and education, and additional smoking-related constructs.

Full Title of Study: “Using Nature Exposure Research to Reduce Impulsivity in Smokers”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: Single (Participant)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: June 30, 2018

Interventions

  • Other: Nature exposure
    • Participants will view images of nature.
  • Other: Non-nature exposure
    • Participants will view non-nature images.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Nature group
    • Nature exposure intervention.
  • Active Comparator: Non-nature group
    • Non-nature exposure intervention.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • 1-item Desire to Smoke Measure
    • Time Frame: 1 day
    • Self reported rating of desire to smoke. This item is scored 1 – 10 (1 = no desire to smoke; 10 = craving to smoke is extreme).

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Smoked at least two cigarettes per day for the last seven or more days
  • Must be 18 years old or older
  • Must have a smart cellular phone that can send and receive text messages and open web links

Exclusion Criteria

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: N/A

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University of Montana
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Lucian Conway, Professor of Social Psychology – University of Montana
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Luke Conway, PhD, Principal Investigator, University of Montana

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