The acceptability of physical activity programming within a smoking cessation service for individuals with severe mental illness.

OBJECTIVE: There is a high prevalence of smoking and physical inactivity among individuals with severe mental illness (SMI). The current study assessed the acceptability of introducing physical activity, including perceived advantages and disadvantages, as an adjunct to a smoking cessation service within this population.

METHODS: 109 participants with SMI who were receiving smoking cessation treatment completed a survey assessing perceived interest in physical activity and a 24-item decisional balance questionnaire reflecting potential advantages and disadvantages of becoming more physically active.

RESULTS: The majority of the participants reported being interested in assistance in becoming more active [63% (69/109)]. The highest rated advantages reported were ‘It would improve my health or reduce my risk of disease’ and ‘It would improve how I feel about myself’. Cost, and being active by oneself were the most frequently reported barriers.

CONCLUSION: This study suggests that many individuals with SMI seeking treatment for smoking cessation may also be receptive to assistance in becoming more physically active. Such individuals endorse both advantages and disadvantages more frequently than those not interested.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: This study provides preliminary support for the acceptability of adding physical activity as a smoking cessation strategy with SMI individuals. Addressing salient barriers will be critical to integrating physical activity within this smoking cessation service.