Timing and risk factors associated with relapse among smokers attempting to quit in Malaysia

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2012 Jul;16(7):980-5. Epub 2012 Apr 9.


Yasin SM, Moy FM, Retneswari M, Isahak M, Koh D.


Faculty of Medicine, Population Health and Preventive Medicine, Mara University of Technology, Sungai Buloh, Selangor, Malaysia; Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


BACKGROUND: Many smokers attempt to quit smoking, but very few succeed.

OBJECTIVE: To identify the timing and risk factors involved in smoking relapse.

METHODS: We conducted a prospective cohort study among staff in two public universities in Malaysia. Behavioural therapy with free nicotine replacement therapy was given as treatment. Participants were followed up for 6 months. Relapse was defined as returning to smoking after having quit for at least 24 h.

RESULTS: Of 185 smokers who volunteered to participate, 120 achieved at least 24-h abstinence, and 80% of these relapsed within 2 months. Compared to participants who attended a single smoking cessation session, participants who attended three sessions had a lower likelihood of relapse within 6 months of quitting. In contrast, smokers with a much longer exposure to cigarette smoking in the workplace (>3 h per week) had a greater chance of relapse compared to those with no exposure.

CONCLUSIONS: Frequent attendance at clinic sessions and less exposure to other people smoking in the workplace can potentially reduce the likelihood of relapse among smokers who have recently quit.


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