Original Article

Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 309-319

First online:

Life 1 Year After a Quit Attempt: Real-Time Reports of Quitters and Continuing Smokers

  • Tanya R. SchlamAffiliated withCenter for Tobacco Research and Intervention and Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Email author 
  • , Megan E. PiperAffiliated withCenter for Tobacco Research and Intervention and Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
  • , Jessica W. CookAffiliated withCenter for Tobacco Research and Intervention and Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
  • , Michael C. FioreAffiliated withCenter for Tobacco Research and Intervention and Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
  • , Timothy B. BakerAffiliated withCenter for Tobacco Research and Intervention and Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

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Abstract

Background

Smokers are often reluctant to quit because they fear long-lasting withdrawal. Yet little research prospectively examines smokers’ withdrawal longer than 1 month post-quit.

Purpose

The aim of this study was to compare successful versus unsuccessful quitters’ withdrawal, positive affect/pleasure, and lifestyle at 1 year post-quit.

Methods

Smokers (N = 572) in a cessation trial completed ecological momentary assessments four times a day for 1 week pre-quit, 1 week post-quit, and 1 week at 1 year post-quit.

Results

From pre-quit to 1 year later, only quitters reported sizeable declines in craving and restlessness, and fewer stressful events. At 1 year, quitters, on average, reported no significant craving. Continuing smokers reduced their cigarette consumption considerably from pre-quit to 1 year later.

Conclusions

Contrary to smokers’ worries, long-term quitters reported less craving and restlessness than when they smoked (perhaps because cessation eliminates the acute nicotine withdrawal smokers experience between cigarettes). This information may encourage smokers to quit and endure withdrawal.

Keywords

Smoking Smoking cessation Withdrawal Craving Ecological momentary assessment