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Addiction. 2011 Oct;106(10):1835-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03495.x. Epub 2011 Aug 18.

The dynamics of the urge-to-smoke following smoking cessation via pharmacotherapy.

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  • 1SRI International, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA.



To examine person-specific urge-to-smoke trajectories during the first 7 days of abstinence and the relationship of trajectory parameters to continuous abstinence, demographics, medication and smoking history.


Hierarchical linear modeling was used to model person-specific trajectories for urge-to-smoke.


Two university-based smoking cessation trials.


Treatment-seeking smokers in a clinical trial of transdermal nicotine (n = 275) versus nicotine spray (n = 239) and of bupropion (n = 223) versus placebo (n = 198).


Self-reported urge-to-smoke for 7 days after the planned quit date, and 7-day point prevalence and continuous abstinence at end of treatment (EOT) and 6 months.


Urge-to-smoke trajectory parameters (average level, slope, curvature and volatility) varied substantially among individuals, had modest intercorrelations and predicted continuous and point prevalence abstinence at EOT and at 6 months. Higher trajectory level, slope and volatility were all significantly (P ≤ 0.001) associated with a reduced likelihood of abstinence at EOT (odds ratios 0.44-0.75) and at 6-month follow-up (odds ratios from 0.63 to 0.78), controlling for demographic, medication and smoking use variables.


Higher urge-to-smoke trajectory parameters of level, slope and volatility (measured over 7 days) predict continuous and 7-day point prevalence at EOT and 6 months. Although there were some associations of trajectory parameters with demographics and smoking history, the associations of trajectory parameters with relapse were relatively uninfluenced by demographics and smoking history.

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