Journal of Community Health

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 605–611 | Cite as

Characterizing Cardiovascular Health and Evaluating a Low-Intensity Intervention to Promote Smoking Cessation in a Food-Assistance Population

  • Mackenzie Perkett
  • Shannon M. Robson
  • Varsha Kripalu
  • Christina Wysota
  • Charlotte McGarry
  • David Weddle
  • Mia A. Papas
  • Freda Patterson
Original Paper


Food assistance recipients are at higher risk for poor cardiovascular health given their propensity to poor dietary intake and tobacco use. This study sought to evaluate the cardiovascular health status, and determine the impact of a low-intensity smoking cessation education intervention that connected mobile food pantry participants to state quit-smoking resources. A pre-post design with a 6-week follow-up was used to evaluate the impact of a 10–12 min smoking cessation education session implemented in five food pantries in Delaware. Baseline cardiovascular health, smoking behaviors and food security status were assessed. Smoking cessation knowledge, intention to quit and use of the state quit line were also assessed at follow-up. Of the 144 participants 72.3% reported having hypertension, 34.3% had diabetes, 13.9% had had a stroke. 50.0% were current smokers. The low-intensity intervention significantly increased smoking cessation knowledge but not intention to quit at follow-up. Seven percent of current smokers reported calling the quit line. Current tobacco use was five times more likely in food insecure versus food secure adults (OR 4.98; p = 0.006), even after adjustment for demographic factors. Systems based approaches to address tobacco use and cardiovascular health in low-income populations are needed. The extent to which smoking cessation could reduce food insecurity and risk for cardiovascular disease in this population warrants investigation.


Cardiovascular disease Smoking cessation Community intervention Food insecurity Systems-approaches 



The authors wish to thank Kai Inguito and Christina Brown for their assistance with data collection. They would also like to thank the staff at the Windsor Apartments, Brandywine Center for Counseling Services, Chelton Apartments, A.C.E. Peer Resource Center, and the Calvary Assembly of God Church for their cooperation in providing a venue for study implementation. Karen Murphy and Danielle Zack are acknowledged for their administrative support to this project.


Funding for this study was provided by the American Lung Association to the Food Bank of Delaware. Research reported in this publication was also supported by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Center of Biomedical Research Excellence from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Grant No. P20GM113125 (FP).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Institutional Review Board

The Institutional Review Board at the University of Delaware approved this study.

Informed Consent

Written informed consent was obtained for all study participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mackenzie Perkett
    • 1
  • Shannon M. Robson
    • 1
  • Varsha Kripalu
    • 1
  • Christina Wysota
    • 1
  • Charlotte McGarry
    • 2
  • David Weddle
    • 2
  • Mia A. Papas
    • 3
  • Freda Patterson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral Health and NutritionCollege of Health SciencesNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Food Bank of DelawareNewarkUSA
  3. 3.The Value InstituteChristiana Health Care SystemNewarkUSA

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