Most quit attempts end in relapse, even when motivation is high.1 To improve quit rates, it is necessary to understand quitting experiences and preferences for a future quit attempt.
To review: tobacco use behaviour including previous quit attempts and outcomes; methods used in the last 12 months to assist quitting; self-reported difficulties faced during previous quit attempts and side-effects of pharmacotherapies; and the preferred methods to assist any future quit attempts.
Baseline data were obtained from current smokers enrolled in a randomised controlled trial evaluating a smoking cessation intervention for hospitalised patients. Tobacco use, quitting methods, difficulties faced and preferred methods to assist quitting were self-reported by participants and analysed using descriptive statistics.
Of 600 enrolled patients (42.8% participation rate), 64.3% (386) had attempted quitting in the previous 12 months, 43.2% (259) had multiple attempts. On a scale of 1(low) – 10 (high), current motivation to quit smoking was high (median 9; Interquartile Range [IQR] 6.5, 10), but confidence was lower (median 5; IQR 3, 8). Among 386 participants who reported past quit attempts, 69.9% had used at least one method to assist quitting. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) was most commonly stated (50.8%), although the majority (81.3%) used NRT for <4 weeks. Hypnotherapy was most cited (17.6%) among non-pharmacological treatments. Over 80% experienced withdrawal symptoms; craving and irritability were commonly reported. Among the users of NRT or prescription medications (249), more than half (56.6%) experienced side effects. Most participants (58.7%) believed that medications, especially NRT (53.8%), would assist them to quit. This included past users of NRT and prescription medications.
These findings suggest the need for greater support for hospitalised smokers interested in quitting. More assistance is warranted in the selection of cessation aids and their optimal use, especially for NRT.