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Residual attraction to smoking and smoker identity following smoking cessation

Vangeli, E; Stapleton, J; West, R; (2010) Residual attraction to smoking and smoker identity following smoking cessation. NICOTINE TOB RES , 12 (8) 865 - 869. 10.1093/ntr/ntq104.

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Abstract

Introduction: Anecdotal reports suggest that some long-term ex-smokers retain a residual attraction to smoking and a "smoker identity," although little systematic data on this exist. These are important because they may increase the likelihood of relapse. This study aimed to quantify the extent of these characteristics in relation to length of abstinence.Methods: A postal questionnaire on residual attraction to smoking, smoker identity, and vulnerability to relapse was sent to 1,390 adults known to have been abstinent for 4 weeks after treatment support with a large stop smoking service in England. Time since the end of treatment varied between 6 weeks and 3 years. Three hundred and fifty-seven ex-smokers responded and were included in the analysis.Results: The proportion of ex-smokers reporting a residual attraction to smoking, a smoker identity, and a vulnerability to relapse declined with duration of abstinence (all p < .001), although even among those having 2 years or more of abstinence, 37.4% (95% CI = 27.9%-47.7%) reported some residual attraction and 16.3% (95% CI = 9.6%-25.2%) retained a smoker identity. By contrast, after 2 or more years of abstinence, only 7% thought they would ever return to smoking (95% CI = 2.9%-14.2%).Discussion: The findings suggest that residual attraction to cigarettes is common among long-term ex-smokers, and a significant minority retain a smoker identity. Further studies are needed to determine how far these characteristics are associated with late relapse.

Type: Article
Title: Residual attraction to smoking and smoker identity following smoking cessation
DOI: 10.1093/ntr/ntq104
Keywords: TOBACCO WITHDRAWAL, EX-SMOKERS, ABSTINENT, QUITTERS, RELAPSE
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/120677
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