Staying Quit After Release (SQuARe) Trial

Project Details


Rates of tobacco smoking are extremely high among people entering Australian prisons. In 2015, it was estimated that the prevalence of tobacco smoking in prison entrants was estimated at 74%. People with a history of incarceration experience disproportionate rates of smoking-related health problems including cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease; these disparities are often compounded by entrenched socio-economic disadvantage.

Correctional authorities in Australia and elsewhere are progressively implementing smoke-free policies that prohibit tobacco smoking on prison grounds for both people who are incarcerated and prison staff. However, correctional smoking bans are insufficient to maintain smoking abstinence after release from prison. Interventions to prevent relapse to smoking after release from smoke-free prisons are urgently needed.

Using a randomised design in a cohort of previously smoking adults recently released from smoke-free prisons in Victoria, Australia, we aimed to evaluate the effects of an intervention involving (1) a brief behavioural intervention and self-help booklet encouraging post-release smoking abstinence, (2) provision of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) mouth spray to manage cravings and (3) and referral to abstinence supports (Quitline, and general practitioners (GPs) for prescription of SCP) following release from smoke-free prisons, on smoking abstinence.


The Justice Health Unit researchers involved with this project are:

Prof Stuart Kinner

Dr Jesse Young

Emilia Janca

Melissa Willoughby

Alex Campbell


Corrections Victoria

Quit Victoria

Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO)


VicHealth Innovation Research Grant, $200,000 (2017-2020)

Research Publications

Young JT, Puljević C, Love AD, Janca EK, Segan CJ, Baird D, et al. Staying Quit After Release (SQuARe) trial protocol: a randomised controlled trial of a multicomponent intervention to maintain smoking abstinence after release from smoke-free prisons in Victoria, Australia. BMJ Open. 2019;9(6):e027307. Full text

Research Group

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Health Equity

MDHS Research library
Explore by researcher, school, project or topic.