Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness, disability, and death in the United States. The rate of smoking is disproportionately higher among Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, smoking cessation efforts that are effective in the general population have shown limited effectiveness in smokers with PTSD. The high smoking rate and difficulty with achieving abstinence indicate a critical need to develop effective interventions for PTSD smokers. Our data indicate that negative affect and trauma reminders are a significant antecedent of relapse for PTSD smokers. Further, despite evidence that nicotine may exacerbate PTSD symptoms, many smokers with PTSD expect that smoking helps manage their symptoms. In this context, an ideal strategy may be to combine evidence-based PTSD treatment with intensive smoking cessation treatment to maximize quit rates in this at-risk population. Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is a well-established evidenced-based treatment for PTSD. We have successfully developed a treatment manual that integrates CPT with guideline-concordant cognitive-behavioral counseling for smoking cessation and is well-tolerated among Veterans with PTSD who smoke cigarettes. The addition of more intensive smoking cessation treatment is expected to maximize quit rates in this population. Contingency management (CM) is an intensive behavioral treatment that has demonstrated efficacy for reducing smoking in a range of difficult-to-treat populations, including individuals with psychiatric disorders. CM provides positive reinforcers (e.g., vouchers, money) to individuals misusing substances contingent upon bioverified abstinence from drug use. In combination with other treatment, CM may provide a potent initial incentive in smokers who experience difficulties early in the quit attempt. The primary goal of the current study is to evaluate the efficacy of an intervention that combines clinic-based CM using twice weekly monitoring with salivary cotinine test strips, cognitive-behavioral smoking cessation counseling, smoking cessation medication, and evidence-based PTSD treatment. Proposed is a randomized, two-arm clinical trial in which 120 Veteran smokers with PTSD will be randomized to either: 1) COGNITIVE PROCESSING THERAPY with SMOKING ABSTINENCE REINFORCEMENT THERAPY (CPT-SMART) ? an intervention that combines evidenced- based PTSD treatment with guideline-concordant cognitive-behavioral smoking cessation counseling, bupropion, and intensive behavioral therapy through CM; or 2) COMBINED CONTACT CONTROL: an intervention identical to CPT-SMART in PTSD and smoking treatment, except for using non-contingent payment (i.e., yoked CM) to control for compensation and monitoring.
Specific aims i nclude:
AIM 1) To evaluate the efficacy of CPT-SMART on rates of short- and long-term abstinence from cigarettes (assessed with multiple measures including bioverified abstinence) measured at 1- week post-treatment, 3-months, and 6 months;
AIM 2) To evaluate the impact of CPT-SMART on treatment engagement and utilization; and an EXPLORATORY AIM) To explore mechanisms of CPT-SMART on long- term smoking abstinence, including self-efficacy, salience of smoking, and psychiatric symptom reduction. The VA has already implemented CM for treatment of substance abuse. If shown efficacious, a combined PTSD treatment plus incentive-based approaches for smoking could be implemented into specialty PTSD programs. The positive public health impact of reducing smoking among Veterans with PTSD could be enormous as it would prevent significant smoking-related morbidity and mortality.