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Predictors of smoking relapse in a national sample of former smokers Miller, Clara Elsie

Abstract

Although smoking relapse is the most frequently reported outcome of smoking cessation, with reported rates as high as 85%, the factors associated with relapse are hot fully understood. The purpose of this study was to identify predictors of smoking relapse in a Canadian sample.of former smokers. A secondary analysis was conducted of data collected in the Survey on Smoking in Canada, a national survey panel with four-cycle intervals in 1994-5. In this study, all respondents who reported that they were former smokers at cycle one (N = 3,875) were included. These respondents were divided into two groups. The first group (N = 3,582) remained abstinent from smoking throughout the survey's four cycles, and the second group (N = 293) experienced a smoking relapse sometime between cycles one and four. Multiple logistic regression analysis of sociodemographic variables indicated that age, education, marital status, and employment status were associated with relapse. Statistically significant differences were found between the two groups (relapsers vs. non-relapsers) with respect to the presence of other smokers in the household. Relapsers were more likely to have other smokers in their household. Differences were also noted between the groups when comparing subjects' exposure to smoke from cigarettes, if subjects were bothered by cigarette smoke, and if cigarette smoke caused them any physical irritation. Relapsers also differed from non-relapsers in that they appeared to have higher levels of nicotine dependence and reported first starting to smoke at a much younger age. In all four cycles of follow-up, relapsers reported that "stress" was the primary reason for their smoking relapse. Both groups faired poorly when reporting their health knowledge of smoking-related illnesses, incurred both by smokers and non-smokers exposed to tobacco smoke. As well, the majority of these subjects (58%) had not been advised to stop smoking by either their doctor or dentist. The findings of this research contribute to the body of knowledge related to smoking relapse. Health professionals must be encouraged to make a lifetime of difference in the overall health of their patients by assisting them towards a smoke-free future.

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