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Int J Clin Pract. 2008 Feb;62(2):182-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2007.01653.x.

Waking at night to smoke as a marker for tobacco dependence: patient characteristics and relationship to treatment outcome.

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Tobacco Dependence Program, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Public Health, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA.



This study aimed to describe the characteristics of treatment-seeking patients who wake at night to smoke (night-smoking), identify factors that may be associated with night-smoking, and assess the association between night-smoking and treatment outcome.


A total of 2312 consecutive eligible cigarette smokers who sought treatment at a specialist tobacco-dependence clinic declared a Target Quit Date, provided baseline information at assessment, and were then followed-up 4 and 26 weeks after their target quit date.


Of the total sample, 51.1% were identified as night-smokers and 25.1% reported smoking abstinence at 26-week follow-up. Night-smoking was associated with a number of other patient characteristics, including African-American race or Hispanic ethnicity, having smoking-related medical symptoms, having been treated for a behavioural health problem, smoking mentholated cigarettes, smoking within 30 min of waking in the morning, increased cigarettes smoked per day, and not having private health insurance. In multivariate analyses, night-smoking at assessment remained a significant predictor of smoking at 26-week follow-up when controlling for other factors associated with treatment outcome (adjusted odds ratio: 0.77, 95% confidence interval: 0.62-0.96). Night-smokers also experienced a shorter average time to relapse (38.5 vs. 56 days, p<0.0001).


Several socioeconomic and tobacco use characteristics are shared among patients who wake at night to smoke. This behaviour can be assessed by a simple question and used as a marker for tobacco dependence and as an indicator that more intensive and sustained treatment may be required.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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