The smoking addiction of patients with severe mental disorders has consequences not only for the patients but also for the people around them. This is qualitative research on family and friends of patients with Schizophrenia spectrum disorders to investigate their perception and vision of smoking, its impact on the patients’ physical and mental health, and the possible attempts to combat addiction. The research also investigates the participants’ views on electronic cigarettes as a means of replacing traditional cigarettes and helping the patient to quit smoking. The survey method used was a semi-structured interview. The answers were recorded, transcribed and analyzed with the technique of thematic analysis. The results of this study show that the view of most participants on smoking is negative (83.3%), although not all of them consider smoking cessation treatments for these patients of primary importance (33.3%). Nevertheless, a good number of them have tried to intervene spontaneously with their own resources and strategies (66.6%). Finally, low-risk products, and in particular electronic cigarettes, are considered by many participants as a useful alternative to traditional cigarettes in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. About the meaning that cigarettes can assume for the patient, recurring themes emerge: they are considered as a way to manage nervousness and tension or as a means to contrast daily monotony and boredom or repeat usual gestures and habits.
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Authors (in alph. order): Annalisa Gulizia, Graziella Chiara Prezzavento, Maria Catena Quattropani, Maria Salvina Signorelli, Marilena Maglia, Pasquale Caponnetto, Riccardo Polosa