Association of deferring a quit attempt with smoking cessation success: a secondary analysis

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2014 Feb;46(2):264-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2013.08.015. Epub 2013 Sep 24.


Several smoking cessation treatments ask smokers to wait to quit to obtain treatment. We report a secondary analysis of whether a later quit attempt is associated with less success. In a placebo-controlled trial of varenicline that allowed smokers to set their quit date within 5 weeks after starting medication, 24% had their first quit attempt during week 1, and 27%, 19%, 18% and 12% in subsequent weeks. Continuous abstinence between 9 and 24 weeks declined over time; that is, from 36% to 37%, 35%, 29%, and 18% across the 5 weeks (p<0.001). The only statistically significant difference was between the last week and prior weeks. Whether a later quit attempt actually causes less success or is a marker for other variables (e.g., low motivation) is unclear.

Trial registration: NCT00691483.

Keywords: Deferred quit attempt; Delayed quitting; Gradual cessation; Postponing quitting; Smoking cessation; Varenicline.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Benzazepines / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Nicotinic Agonists / administration & dosage
  • Quinoxalines / administration & dosage*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Time Factors
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Varenicline


  • Benzazepines
  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Quinoxalines
  • Varenicline

Associated data