Background: Few prospective studies have investigated variables related to the smoking cessation process in nonvolunteer samples.
Methods: Smoking history, behavioral intentions, degree of addiction, and demographic characteristics were examined over a 2-year period as predictors of four behavioral outcomes related to smoking cessation--participation in a smoking cessation program, attempting to quit, relapse, and success in quitting--in 802 working adults who were daily smokers at baseline. Change in behavioral intentions over the 2-year period was also examined.
Results: Sixty-four percent of smokers made a serious quit attempt in the 2-year study period, 16% succeeded in quitting, and an additional 9% shifted from daily to occasional smoking. Stated intention to quit at baseline was a powerful and consistent predictor of three of the behavioral outcomes, but several demographic and smoking-related variables were differentially associated with these three outcomes.
Conclusions: Study findings indicate that smoking cessation is a dynamic process in which a majority of smokers are actively engaged. Smoking pattern and sociodemographic characteristics are predictors of whether smokers will participate in programs, make quit attempts, and succeed in quitting. Intention to quit is related to smoking outcomes in a manner that would be predicted by the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change.