Urges to smoke during the first month of abstinence: relationship to relapse and predictors

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1995 May;119(2):171-8. doi: 10.1007/BF02246158.


The urges to smoke reported by 215 former smokers were measured 1 day, 7 days, 14 days and 30 days after they quit to examine: (a) the time course of smoking urges, (b) the relationship of urges to relapse, and (c) predictors of urges to smoke. Urges to smoke were strongest 1 day after quitting, and decreased at each subsequent measurement point. Urges were a powerful predictor of relapse. At each of the four assessment points, abstinent subjects who reported stronger urges to smoke were more likely to relapse by the next measurement point. Urges to smoke at a given day (e.g., day 1) were consistently the best predictors of the persistence of urges at the next assessment (e.g., day 7). Greater negative emotion (e.g., anxiety, sadness, anger, and confusion) and psychosocial stress also predicted stronger urges to smoke. Nicotine gum significantly reduced urges during week 1 post-cessation. Clinical implications of the findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Coffee
  • Cues
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Probability
  • Recurrence
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Social Behavior
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Time Factors
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / prevention & control
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology


  • Coffee