Time to selected quit date and subsequent rates of sustained smoking abstinence


In efforts to combat tobacco dependence, most smoking cessation programs offer individuals who smoke the choice of a target quit date. However, it is uncertain whether the time to the selected quit date is associated with participants’ chances of achieving sustained abstinence. In a pre-specified secondary analysis of a randomized clinical trial of four financial-incentive programs or usual care to encourage smoking cessation (Halpern et al. in N Engl J Med 372(22):2108–2117, doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1414293, 2015), study participants were instructed to select a quit date between 0 and 90 days from enrollment. Among those who selected a quit date and provided complete baseline data (n = 1848), we used multivariable logistic regression to evaluate the association of the time to the selected quit date with 6- and 12-month biochemically-confirmed abstinence rates. In the fully adjusted model, the probability of being abstinent at 6 months if the participant selected a quit date in weeks 1, 5, 10, and 13 were 39.6, 22.6, 10.9, and 4.3%, respectively.

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This work was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (T32HL098054 to GLA; R01CA159932 to SDH, MOH, and KGV; and F31HL127947 to MOH). CVS Caremark provided in-kind support only (CVS employees directly assisted with recruitment of study participants in the original trial).

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Correspondence to George L. Anesi.

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Conflict of interest

George L. Anesi, Scott D. Halpern, Michael O. Harhay, Kevin G. Volpp, and Kathryn Saulsgiver declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and animal right and Informed consent

All procedures involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Review Board at the University of Pennsylvania (IRB Protocol #814761) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards, and registered with Clinicaltrials.gov (Protocol #NCT01526265). Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Anesi, G.L., Halpern, S.D., Harhay, M.O. et al. Time to selected quit date and subsequent rates of sustained smoking abstinence. J Behav Med 40, 989–997 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-017-9868-5

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  • Tobacco dependence
  • Smoking cessation
  • Quit date
  • Sustained abstinence
  • Stage-of-change
  • Readiness-to-quit