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Motivations toward smoking cessation, reasons for relapse, and modes of quitting: results from a qualitative study among former and current smokers

Authors Buczkowski K, Marcinowicz L, Czachowski S, Piszczek E

Received 14 May 2014

Accepted for publication 17 July 2014

Published 1 October 2014 Volume 2014:8 Pages 1353—1363


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Krzysztof Buczkowski,1 Ludmila Marcinowicz,2 Slawomir Czachowski,1 Elwira Piszczek3

1Department of Family Medicine, Collegium Medicum, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, 2Department of Family Medicine and Community Nursing, Medical University of Bialystok, Bialystok, 3Sociology Institute, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland

Background: Smoking cessation plays a crucial role in reducing preventable morbidity and mortality and is a recognized public-health-policy issue in many countries. Two of the most important factors that affect the efficacy of quitting smoking are motivation and the ability to cope with situations causing relapse.
Aim: The objective of the study reported here was to investigate former and current smokers’ motivations for smoking cessation, reasons for relapse, and modes of quitting.
Methods: We arranged four focus groups with 24 participants (twelve current and twelve former smokers) and eleven semi-structured interviews (five current and six former smokers) with a view to understanding and categorizing their opinions on motivations and the course and process of smoking cessation. The data were next analyzed using descriptive qualitative methods.
Results: Three main themes were identified: (1) motivations to quit smoking, (2) reasons why smokers sometimes relapse, and (3) modes of quitting smoking. Within the first theme, the following six subthemes surfaced: (1) a smoking ban at home and at work due to other people’s wishes and rules, (2) the high cost of cigarettes, (3) the unpleasant smell, (4) health concern, (5) pregnancy and breastfeeding, and (6) a variety of other factors. The second theme encompassed the following subthemes: (1) stress and the need to lessen it by smoking a cigarette, (2) the need to experience the pleasure connected with smoking, and (3) the smoking environment both at home and at work. Participants presented different smoking-cessation modes, but mainly they were unplanned attempts.
Conclusion: Two very important motivations for smoking cessation were a smoking ban at home and at work due to other people’s wishes and rules, and the high cost of cigarettes. The most common smoking-cessation mode was a spontaneous decision to quit, caused by a particular trigger factor. Relapse causes encompassed, most notably: stress, lack of the pleasure previously obtained from smoking, and the smoking environment.

Keywords: motivation, smoking cessation, primary care, qualitative research

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