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Addiction. 2004 Jan;99(1):29-38.

Shape of the relapse curve and long-term abstinence among untreated smokers.

Author information

  • 1University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry, Burlington, VT 05401-1419, USA. john.hughes@uvm.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the relapse curve and rate of long-term prolonged abstinence among smokers who try to quit without treatment.

METHOD:

Systematic literature review.

DATA SOURCES:

Cochrane Reviews, Dissertation Abstracts, Excerpt Medica, Medline, Psych Abstracts and US Center for Disease Control databases plus bibliographies of articles and requests of scientists.

STUDY SELECTION:

Prospective studies of self-quitters or studies that included a no-treatment control group.

DATA EXTRACTION:

Two reviewers independently extracted data in a non-blind manner.

DATA SYNTHESIS:

The number of studies was too small and the data too heterogeneous for meta-analysis or other statistical techniques.

RESULTS:

There is a paucity of studies reporting relapse curves of self-quitters. The existing eight relapse curves from two studies of self-quitters and five no-treatment control groups indicate most relapse occurs in the first 8 days. These relapse curves were heterogeneous even when the final outcome was made similar. In terms of prolonged abstinence rates, a prior summary of 10 self-quitting studies, two other studies of self-quitters and three no-treatment control groups indicate 3-5% of self-quitters achieve prolonged abstinence for 6-12 month after a given quit attempt.

CONCLUSIONS:

More reports of relapse curves of self-quitters are needed. Smoking cessation interventions should focus on the first week of abstinence. Interventions that produce abstinence rates of 5-10% may be effective. Cessation studies should report relapse curves.

PMID:
14678060
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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