Natural History of Smoking and Quitting: Long-term Outcomes
This research involves the transdisciplinary integration of information on the health and psychosocial outcomes of a quit attempt. This information should provide data that will help:
- Reduce late relapse.
- Motivate more smokers to quit.
- Motivate clinicians to treat smokers more effectively.
- Provide a basis for preventive interventions to avoid negative impacts of quitting.
Researchers are studying about 360 successful quitters and 540 continuing smokers from Project 1, using the same assessment tools as in the first project. The goal is to learn about the fates of quitters and non-quitters in terms of mental health, quality of life, alcohol intake, cardiovascular effects and more—to answer the question: What happens to quitters after they quit?
Participants who received intensive in-person assessments before the quit date will have selected measures repeated at one, two and three years post-quit attempt. We hypothesize that successful cessation will be associated with arrest of atherosclerosis progression, reduction in alcohol intake, enhanced quality-of-life and reduced psychiatric symptoms/diagnoses. We also expect that a portion of quitters will experience negative outcomes after quitting, especially those gaining substantial weight. These outcomes may include decreased quality of life, decreased exercise and hyperlipidemia. Finally, the long follow-up interval will allow us to identify precipitants of late relapse: i.e., relapse occurring after one year of abstinence.