Between 2001 and 2003, the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales carried out a large study with the Centre for Mental Health Studies at the University of Newcastle. The project asked people with serious mental health problems, who also smoked cigarettes, to participate in a 12-month study, which involved completing several questionnaires/other assessments over that time with a member of the research team. Around half of the participants in this study also received treatment for their smoking from the research team. This treatment involved weekly therapy with one member of the research team, and covered the relationship between smoking and mental illness, teaching people to cope with desires to smoke, how to recognise and avoid high risk situations for smoking, and how to plan alternative ways of coping with those situations where smoking usually occurred. In addition, nicotine patches were also available to assist people who made the decision to reduce their smoking. This study hoped to learn whether this new treatment could assist people experiencing mental illness reduce their tobacco smoking.
After three years, previous participants were invited to participate in another follow-up assessment to check-in with their current situation, their mental health and levels of smoking.