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: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00691483.
Keywords: Deferred quit attempt; Delayed quitting; Gradual cessation; Postponing quitting; Smoking cessation; Varenicline.