Predictors of Smoking Cessation Among College Students in a Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Miren I. Pardavila-Belio
  • Miguel Ruiz-CanelaEmail author
  • Navidad Canga-Armayor


An effective strategy to quit smoking should consider demographic aspects, smoking-related characteristics and psychological factors. This study examined potential predictors of smoking cessation in Spanish college students. A total of 255 college student smokers (18–24 years old), recruited to a cessation trial (Spain, 2013–2014), comprised an observational cohort. The main outcome was biochemically verified (urine cotinine) abstinence at the 6-month follow-up. Baseline potential predictors included socio-demographic, smoking-related and psychological variables (Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND), expired monoxide level (CO), intention to quit, previous quit attempts, participation in previous multicomponent programmes and confidence in quitting). Logistic regression models were used to identify potential predictors, the area under the ROC curve (AUC) was used to discriminate the capacity of the predictors and the Hosmer–Lemeshow goodness-of-fit test was used to assess model calibration. After 6 months of follow-up, variables related to high nicotine dependence, FTND and expired CO levels were associated with lower odds of quitting smoking (OR = 0.69 [95% CI 0.54–0.89] and 0.84 [0.77–0.92], respectively). Furthermore, being prepared to change (OR = 3.98 [1.49–10.64], p = 0.006) and being confident to quit (OR = 4.73 [2.12–10.55], p < 0.001) were also potential predictors of smoking cessation. The model that combined all these variables had the best predictive validity (AUC = 0.84 [0.78–0.91], p = 0.693) and showed good predictive capacity (χ2 = 10.36, p = 0.241). Findings highlight that, in this population of college student smokers, having a lower level of nicotine dependence, being prepared to quit and having the confidence in the ability to quit were associated with smoking cessation, and these factors had good predictive capacity.


Fagerström Stage of change Expired carbon monoxide Self-efficacy College student Predictors Smoking cessation 



The authors would like to extend their gratitude to the Chair of María Egea for the funding of this project, to the University of Navarra for allowing this study and to the participants, without whom this research would have not been possible. In addition, we would like to thank Dr. Cristina García-Vivar, Laura Iriarte and Sara Pueyo-Garrigues for their help during this study.


This study was funded by the Chair of María Egea, University of Navarra (Spain).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Informed consent was obtained from all students before starting the face-to-face interview. Ethical approval was sought and granted by the University of Navarra Research Ethics Committee (reference number 055/2013).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of Human Rights

All procedures performed in this study in were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Statement of the Welfare of Animals

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

11121_2019_1004_MOESM1_ESM.docx (152 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 151 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miren I. Pardavila-Belio
    • 1
    • 2
  • Miguel Ruiz-Canela
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Navidad Canga-Armayor
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Community Nursing and Maternal & Child Health CareUniversity of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  2. 2.Institute for Health Research (IdiSNA)PamplonaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Facultad de Medicina-ClınicaUniversity of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  4. 4.Biomedical Research Center Network on Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn)Institute of Health Carlos IIIMadridSpain

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