Smok­ers may try to quit 30 times be­fore it sticks

Pakistan Observer - - KARACHI CITY -

Though con­ven­tional wisdom says it takes five to seven at­tempts for most smok­ers to quit, those es­ti­mates may be very low, a re­cent study sug­gests. Based on data for more than 1,200 adult smok­ers in Canada, the real av­er­age num­ber of quit at­tempts be­fore suc­ceed­ing may be closer to 30.

“For so long we’ve been talk­ing about five to seven at­tempts to quit,” said lead au­thor Dr. Michael Chaiton of the school of pub­lic health at the Univer­sity of Toronto in Canada. “For us (the num­bers) were a lot higher.”

The lower es­ti­mate comes from a few past stud­ies that were based on the life­time rec­ol­lec­tions of peo­ple who suc­cess­fully quit, but they didn’t in­clude at­tempts by peo­ple who had not yet suc­ceeded, Chaiton and col­leagues note in the jour­nal BMJ Open. For their study, the re­searchers an­a­lyzed data from 1,277 peo­ple in the On­tario To­bacco Sur­vey who were fol­lowed for up to three years. When the study be­gan in 2005, par­tic­i­pants re­ported how many times they re­called ever mak­ing a se­ri­ous at­tempt to quit smok­ing, and at each six-month fol­lowup they re­ported how many se­ri­ous quit at­tempts they had made over the past six months.

A quit at­tempt was deemed a suc­cess when a par­tic­i­pant went at least one year with­out a cig­a­rette. The re­searchers used these re­sponses and four dif­fer­ent sta­tis­ti­cal mod­els to es­ti­mate how many times the av­er­age smoker at­tempts to quit be­fore suc­ceed­ing. The most un­bi­ased model sug­gested an av­er­age of 30 quit at­tempts per smoker.

That’s much higher than peo­ple tended to re­port in the pre­vi­ous stud­ies when asked about all their quit at­tempts since start­ing smok­ing, the study team writes.

“Peo­ple are very bad at re­mem­ber­ing over their whole life­times,” Chaiton told Reuters Health. “The se­cond prob­lem is we were only ask­ing peo­ple who have been suc­cess­ful at quit­ting.”The new study may be a bet­ter rep­re­sen­ta­tion of what most smok­ers go through over time, but it does only describe their sit­u­a­tion rather than pre­dict what will hap­pen to an in­di­vid­ual smoker who tries to quit, he cau­tioned. “This doesn’t mean you hit a magic num­ber and then you can quit,” Chaiton said. “There are many peo­ple who are able to and do quit on their first at­tempt or in the first few. “There are peo­ple who are good at many things, some are good at quit­ting smok­ing,” he added.

Quit­ting smok­ing is of­ten a long-term process with many at­tempts, he said. “When we talk about try­ing to re­duce the num­ber of smok­ers, if we try and do that by fo­cus­ing on one quit at­tempt at a time we’re not go­ing to be very suc­cess­ful,” Chaiton said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.