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Addict Behav. 1989;14(1):23-33.

Self-help approaches to smoking cessation: a report from the normative aging study.

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Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic, Boston, Massachusetts 02108.


Self-quitters make up by far the largest proportion of ex-cigarette smokers, yet this population has not been extensively characterized to date. We compared male self-quitters (N = 191) and age-matched recidivists (N = 110) on smoking histories, psychosocial attributes and quitting methods. A number of significant relationships were found, some of which may have clinical implications. those who substituted cigars or pipes for cigarettes were nearly four times more likely to be successful, and those who reported consuming more food/snacks after quitting were 80% more likely to be successful quitters. Subjects who reported using no coping strategies in former smoking settings after cessation because they had no urges to smoke in these settings were also much more likely to be successful quitters. Recidivists were more likely to report using physical activity as a means of coping with temptations to smoke, and were somewhat older at the time of the quit attempt. Withdrawal symptoms and psychosocial stress were reported as reasons for relapse by early relapsers, while late relapsers reported being around other smokers on social occasions, and psychosocial stress.

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