Background: Since 2016, the Naval Diving Unit (NDU) of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) has instituted a smoking cessation trial program for their trainees, instituting a blanket ban on smoking during training hours in order to promote smoking cessation and create a smoke-free culture among its servicemen. For the rest of RSN personnel, they would attend a more costly, established Health Promotion Board (HPB) smoking cessation program, which employs social support strategies, while they undergo basic training in the Navy Military Experts Institute (NMI).
Methodology: We examined the outcomes and direct costs of the NDU smoking cessation trial program, compared with the HPB smoking cessation program in NMI. The primary outcome was self-reported smoking cessation at the end of six months.
Principal findings: The NDU smoking cessation program led to 50% reduction among smokers with no additional direct costs. It is comparable to a 59% reduction of smokers among trainees in the established HPB program, which costs US$1,955 per course in 2017. The results of both programs are not significantly different (χ2 = 0.34, P-value = 0.56). Neither program?s participants raised any nicotine withdrawal issues throughout.
Conclusion: The results of the NDU smoking cessation program suggests that it is not inferior to the established HPB smoking cessation program. More studies should be done to identify factors leading to smoking cessation success among Naval Diver trainees compared to the established program, particularly since the NDU program was less costly and had no engagement with trained counselors.
Keywords: Singapore; cost; diver; military; smoking cessation.