The Time-Varying Relations Between Risk Factors and Smoking Before and After a Quit Attempt

Nicotine Tob Res. 2018 Sep 4;20(10):1231-1236. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntx225.


Introduction: Intensive longitudinal data (ILD) collected with ecological momentary assessments (EMAs) can provide a rich resource for understanding the relations between risk factors and smoking in the time surrounding a cessation attempt.

Methods: Participants (N = 142) were smokers seeking treatment at a safety-net hospital smoking cessation clinic who were randomly assigned to receive standard clinic care (ie, counseling and cessation medications) or standard care plus small financial incentives for biochemically confirmed smoking abstinence. Participants completed EMAs via study provided smartphones several times per day for 14 days (1 week prequit through 1 week postquit). EMAs assessed current contextual factors including environmental (eg, easy access to cigarettes, being around others smoking), cognitive (eg, urge to smoke, stress, coping expectancies, cessation motivation, cessation self-efficacy, restlessness), behavioral (ie, recent smoking and alcohol consumption), and affective variables. Temporal relations between risk factors and smoking were assessed using a logistic time-varying effect model.

Results: Participants were primarily female (57.8%) and Black (71.8%), with an annual household income of <$20000 per year (71.8%), who smoked 17.6 cigarettes per day (SD = 8.8). Individuals assigned to the financial incentives group had decreased odds of smoking compared with those assigned to usual care beginning 3 days before the quit attempt and continuing throughout the first week postquit. Environmental, cognitive, affective, and behavioral variables had complex time-varying impacts on smoking before and after the scheduled quit attempt.

Conclusions: Knowledge of time-varying effects may facilitate the development of interventions that target specific psychosocial and behavioral variables at critical moments in the weeks surrounding a quit attempt.

Implications: Previous research has examined time-varying relations between smoking and negative affect, urge to smoke, smoking dependence, and certain smoking cessation therapies. We extend this work using ILD of unexplored variables in a socioeconomically disadvantaged sample of smokers seeking cessation treatment. These findings could be used to inform ecological momentary interventions that deliver treatment resources (eg, video- or text-based content) to individuals based upon critical variables surrounding their attempt.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Counseling / methods
  • Ecological Momentary Assessment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Random Allocation
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Efficacy
  • Smokers / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Time Factors
  • Tobacco Smoking / psychology*
  • Tobacco Smoking / therapy*