Research Article: Does consistent motivation to stop smoking improve the explanation of recent quit attempts beyond current motivation? A cross-sectional study

Date Published: June 1, 2018

Publisher: Elsevier Science

Author(s): Olga Perski, Natalie Herd, Jamie Brown, Robert West.


•The addition of a single measure of ‘consistent motivation to stop’ may improve models of quit attempts.•Consistent motivation to stop was strongly associated with having made a quit attempt in the past year.•The consistency of the motivation to quit may be a useful target variable in intervention studies.•The prospective association of consistent motivation to stop with quit attempts should be assessed in future research.

Partial Text

It is important to continue to seek to develop improved models of smoking cessation attempts. Single self-report measures of current motivation to stop smoking are strongly associated with the likelihood of future quit attempts (Borland, Yong, Balmford, et al., 2010b; Smit, Fidler, & West, 2011). This paper addresses the issue of whether and how far adding a second type of measure relating to self-reports of consistent motivation to stop smoking in the past, may add to the explanatory power of models of quit attempts.

A total of 17,460 smokers were surveyed between October 2012 and June 2017, of whom 16,657 (95.4%) provided complete data on all variables. Overall, 30.5% of smokers (n = 5080) had made an attempt to quit smoking in the past 12 months (see Table 1). Of the smokers who reported experiencing consistent motivation to stop, 54.1% (n = 4027) had made a quit attempt in the past year, compared with 11.4% (n = 1053) of smokers who reported that they had not experienced consistent motivation to stop.Table 1Baseline characteristics of participants (N = 16,657).Table 1% (N)Sociodemographic characteristicsAge 16–2419.8 (3298) 25–3420.2 (3361) 35–4416.5 (2752) 45–5416.9 (2822) 55–6414.0 (2327) 65+12.6 (2097) Female47.0 (7836)Social grade AB11.0 (1838) C126.3 (4373) C223.3 (3883) D19.8 (3304) E19.6 (3259)

Smoking characteristicsCurrent motivation to stop smoking “I don’t want to stop smoking”29.2 (4871) “I think I should stop smoking but I don’t really want to”15.3 (2553) “I want to stop smoking but haven’t thought about when”9.0 (1496) “I REALLY want to stop smoking but I don’t know when I will”12.8 (2131) “I want to stop smoking and hope to soon”17.8 (2959) “I REALLY want to stop smoking and intend to in the next 3 months”7.8 (1302) “I REALLY want to stop smoking and intend to in the next month”8.1 (1345)Consistent motivation to stop smoking No55.3 (9207) Yes44.7 (7450)Tried to quit in the past year No69.5 (11,577) Yes30.5 (5080)Strength of urges to smoke None11.5 (1916) Slight15.8 (2633) Moderate45.3 (7540) Strong19.4 (3230) Very strong5.7 (948) Extremely strong2.3 (390)Cigarettes smoked per day, mean (SD)11.5 (8.4)

This study found that a single self-report measure of consistent motivation to stop smoking showed a strong association with the likelihood of having made at least one quit attempt in the past 12 months and added substantially over and above an established measure of current motivation to stop smoking. These findings suggest that smokers have enough recollection of the consistency of their motivation to quit over time for this to be used as an additional measure of motivation to stop smoking that could be useful in understanding quit attempts. These findings also lend support to phase-based models of quitting, which suggest that predictors of quit attempts may differ from predictors of cessation success (Hughes et al., 2014; Vangeli et al., 2011).

Cancer Research UK is the main contributor (C1417/A22962), but the UK Department of Health, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson and Johnson have also all contributed funding to the data collection for the Smoking Toolkit Study. OP is funded by Bupa under its partnership with University College London. NH is funded by the NIHR HPRU in Evaluation of Interventions. RW and JB receive support from CRUK (C1417/A22962). The funders had no final role in the study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the paper for publication. All researchers listed as authors are independent from the funders and all final decisions about the research were taken by the investigators and were unrestricted.

All authors contributed to the design of the study. OP conducted the statistical analysis and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All authors have contributed to and have approved the final manuscript.

OP and NH report no competing interests to declare. RW undertakes research and consultancy for and receives travel funds and hospitality from manufacturers of smoking cessation medications (Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson and Johnson). JB has received unrestricted research funding from Pfizer.




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