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Nicotine Tob Res. 2005 Aug;7(4):533-40.

The return to smoking: 1-year relapse trajectories among female smokers.

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Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Research has demonstrated that a lapse in cigarette abstinence often leads smokers to fully relapse (i.e., return to daily smoking). However, patterns of smoking resumption beyond the point at which relapse occurs have not been examined in systematic follow-up studies. Daily cigarette intake data for 108 female adult smokers who participated in a smoking cessation trial were recorded at several points during the 365 days following the participants' quit date. SAS Proc Traj, a group-based mixture modeling procedure, was used to determine cigarette-use trajectories over time (i.e., patterns of smoking resumption). Over the 365 days, 27% of the sample maintained abstinence. Among the 73% who relapsed, four distinct trajectories emerged: low-level users (8% of the overall sample), moderate users (17%), slow-returners (15%), and quick-returners (33%). A few individual characteristics differentiated these groups. Overall, the findings illustrate that, after relapsing, smokers do not follow a unitary course of smoking resumption; rather, they exhibit more variable resumption patterns than previously assumed.

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