Smoking cessation after an acute coronary syndrome: immediate quitters are successful quitters

Neth Heart J. 2015 Dec;23(12):600-7. doi: 10.1007/s12471-015-0755-9.


Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention guidelines stress the importance of smoking cessation and recommend intensive follow-up. To guide the development of such cessation support strategies, we analysed the characteristics that are associated with successful smoking cessation after an acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

Methods: We used data from the Randomised Evaluation of Secondary Prevention for ACS patients coordinated by Outpatient Nurse SpEcialists (RESPONSE) trial (n = 754). This was designed to quantify the impact of a nurse-coordinated prevention program, focusing on healthy lifestyles, traditional CVD risk factors and medication adherence. For the current analysis we included all smokers (324/754, 43 %). Successful quitters were defined as those who reported abstinence at 1 year of follow-up.

Results: The majority of successful quitters quit immediately after the ACS event and remained abstinent through 1 year of follow-up, without extra support (128/156, 82 %). Higher education level (33 vs. 15 %, p < 0.01), no history of CVD (87 vs. 74 %, p < 0.01) and being on target for LDL-cholesterol level at 1 year (78 vs. 63 %, p < 0.01) were associated with successful quitting.

Conclusion: The majority of successful quitters at 1 year stopped immediately after their ACS. Patients in this group showed that it was within their own ability to quit, and they did not relapse through 1 year of follow-up. Our study indicates that in a large group of patients who quit immediately after a life-threatening event, no relapse prevention program is needed.

Keywords: Acute coronary syndrome; Secondary prevention; Smoking cessation.