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Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction

i-cut: integrative cannabis and tobacco cessation course

Summary Development and feasibility assessment of an integrative smoking cessation programme for adult tobacco addicts who also regularly use cannabis.
Project manager(s) Michael Schaub
Duration 05.2011 – 03.2014
Client / Funding partner(s) Tabacco prevention fund (TPF) (Tabakpräventionsfonds)
Cooperating partner(s) ARUD Zürich, Integrierte Psychiatrie Winterthur, Prävention und Suchthilfe Winterthur


Epidemiological studies show a clear relationship between tobacco and cannabis consumption. Studies on the withdrawal from a substance also show that the efficiency of conventional interventions seems to be lower in persons who use both substances than in persons who use tobacco or cannabis exclusively. On the other hand, results show that after stopping the use of the substance, an increase in the use of the other substance not explicitly intended for withdrawal is often observed. Despite these findings, the connection between the two substances is insuffienciently taken into account nationally and internationally. A preliminary study and needs assessment (Quinteros-Hungerbühler and Schaub, 2010) used quantitative and qualitative methods to determine whether users and professionals see a need for a combined smoking cessation programme for tobacco and cannabis, and if so, how such a program could be designed. Since, among other things, most of the respondents considered a combined intervention to be useful and necessary, such an intervention will now be developed. 


The project aims to develop an integrative smoking cessation program for tobacco addicts who also regularly use cannabis to simultaneously quit tobacco and cannabis use, to implement it in a pilot study and to evaluate its feasibility and effectiveness. The aim of the project is to sensitize tobacco and cannabis users in the population as well as those in treatment to the connection between tobacco and cannabis consumption. In addition, the willingness of users to give up both tobacco and cannabis use is to be increased. The actual participants of the integrative stop smoking program should stop their tobacco and cannabis consumption and maintain their abstinence. 


In cooperation with integrated Addiction Aid Winterthur (ISW) and ARUD Zurich, a therapeutic manual for the simultaneous withdrawal from tobacco and cannabis use is being developed by means of literature search and the findings of the preliminary study. In addition, an interactive website is being set up for recruitment purposes and for the general provision of information. After course instructors have been trained and participants are recruited, the courses will be held at two locations (in Zurcih and Winterthur) in a group setting with possible supplementary individual sessions. Data on the feasibility and effectiveness of the intervention will be collected before, during and after the course, as well as in a follow-up survey. This data is obtained through self-disclosure by the participants, objectifiable measurments (CO- breath analysis or saliva test) and by questioning the course instructors. Furthermore, an external summative evaluation and a detailed dissemination of the results to science and practice are planned. 


To date, there are no scientifically documented interventions to simultaneously stop smoking tobacco and cannabis. According to the preliminary study, it is also expected that a course specifically adapted for tobacco addicts who also regularly use cannabis will be able to remove barriers to access to conventional tobacco or cannabis programs for this target group and could also be an effective intervention. Furthermore, the project provides both differentiated knowledge and practical experience regarding a simultaneous cessation of tobacco and cannabis use, which can be used in science and practice. In case of corresponding results, a Swiss-wide multiplication is aimed at on the basis project. 


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