Identification of smoking cessation phenotypes as a basis for individualized counseling: An explorative real-world cohort study

Tob Induc Dis. 2022 Sep 23;20:81. doi: 10.18332/tid/152546. eCollection 2022.


Introduction: The rate of relapse in smokers attempting to quit is generally high. In order to maximize the chances of success, it is of interest to better understand the dynamic of lapse and relapse during smoking cessation. We hypothesized that specific behavioral patterns in tobacco consumption could predict the probability of quitting success and could open the possibility for a more targeted approach. The aim of the current study was to characterize clusters of quitting trajectories among participants involved in a smoking cessation program.

Methods: In a retrospective real-world cohort study, data from 843 consecutive participants between March 2012 and December 2014 were collected. Data consisted of baseline information on demographics, smoking history and dependence level, as well as longitudinal data about tobacco consumption. The correlations among time series were characterized using principal coordinates analysis. Clusters were identified using k-means clustering and the average profile associated with each cluster was computed. The association between the participant's baseline characteristics and clusters of tobacco consumption was assessed.

Results: Four distinct clusters of transition phenotypes were identified based on tobacco consumption during the cessation phase: the long-term quitters (30%), the persistent smokers/reducers (44%), the short-term returners (16%) and the repeated try and failers (10%). Significant between-cluster differences were found in terms of baseline characteristics and smoking behavior during follow-up.

Conclusions: Meaningful clusters of quitting trajectories could be identified. Such specific behavioral patterns were useful for the application of personalized assistance needed to achieve successful and long-term cessation.

Keywords: clusters; individualized treatment; personas; principal coordinates analysis; smoking cessation.