To evaluate the appropriateness of the primary health care system to support smoking cessation as well as individual patterns for successful quitting.
University hospital employees (n=5218) were addressed through a two page, 17 questions questionnaire inquiring about past and current smoking behavior. Questions included daily cigarette consumption, pack-years, previous quitting attempts, smoking free period, and utilization of pharmacological therapies and counseling.
2574 (49.3%) questionnaires were returned. 791 subjects declared to have successfully quit smoking. A complete data set was available in 763 cases (mean age 44.4, range 17-68, 227 (29.8% male). Patients remained smoke free for a mean period of 11.8± 9.7 years. Smoking cessation method in these subjects was: cold turkey in 89%; counseling 1.7%; nicotine replacement therapy in 4.5%; bupropion in 1.2%; and alternative approaches in 15.4%. On average, 2.4 ± 3.02 attempts leaded to successful smoking cessation. Smoking cessation was achieved with one attempt in 53% of the cases, two in 19%, three in 13%, and more than three attempts in 14%, respectively. After two or more unsuccessful attempts, odds ratio for unsuccessful smoking cessation was 2.58 (95% CI 1.94 to 3.45).
The majority of the ex-smokers quitted smoking without any behavioral or pharmacological support. The chance to successfully quit smoking without any help in a first or second attempt is considerable high. Accordingly, more than 50% of smokers have succeeded to quit on the first attempt. The risk for smoking recurrence after two ineffective quit attempts is markedly increased (OR 2.58).
Behavioral and pharmacological therapies for smoking cessation are deemed effective and are supposed to be recommended to all patients who are attempting to quit smoking. However, in reality, the majority of smokers quit smoke without any help. According to our data, assistance should be offered particularly to subjects which already performed two unsuccessful attempts to quit.
Daiana Stolz, None.