Abstract Background The Conversation, Understand, Replace, Experts and evidence-based treatment (CURE) project aims to provide a comprehensive offer of both pharmacotherapy and specialist support for tobacco dependence to all smokers admitted to hospital and after discharge. CURE was recently piloted within a single trust in Greater Manchester, with preliminary evidence suggesting this intervention may be successful in improving patient outcomes. Plans are currently underway to pilot a model based upon CURE in other sites across England. To inform implementation, we conducted a qualitative study, which aimed to identify factors influencing healthcare professionals’ implementation behaviour within the pilot site. Methods Individual, semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 10 purposively sampled health professionals involved in the delivery and implementation of the CURE project pilot. Topic guides were informed by the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF). Transcripts were analysed in line with the framework method, with data coded to TDF domains to highlight important areas of influence and then mapped to the COM-B to support future intervention development. Results Eight TDF domains were identified as important areas influencing CURE implementation; ‘environmental context and resources’ (physical opportunity), ‘social influence’ (social opportunity), ‘goals’, ‘professional role and identity’ and ‘beliefs about consequences’ (reflective motivation), ‘reinforcement’ (automatic motivation), ‘skills’ and ‘knowledge’ (psychological capability). Most domains had the potential to both hinder and/or facilitate implementation, with the exception of ‘beliefs about consequences’ and ‘knowledge’, which were highlighted as facilitators of CURE. Participants suggested that ‘environmental context and resources’ was the most important factor influencing implementation; with barriers most often related to challenges integrating into the wider healthcare context. Conclusions This qualitative study identified multi-level barriers and facilitators to CURE implementation. The use of theoretical frameworks allowed for the identification of domains known to influence behaviour change, and thus can be taken forward to develop targeted interventions to support future service implementation. Future work should focus on discussing these findings with a broad range of stakeholders, to ensure resultant intervention strategies are feasible and practicable within a healthcare context. These findings complement wider evaluative work to support nationwide roll out of NHS funded tobacco dependence treatment services in acute care trusts.
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