Objectives: To examine the time patterns and predictors of initiating a quit attempt and subsequent sustained abstinence among youth smokers after receiving a telephone smoking cessation intervention. Methods: This was a longitudinal study of 408 current youth smokers aged 12-25 years who called a smoking cessation hotline in Hong Kong. Telephone surveys were conducted at baseline; 1week; and 1, 3, and 6 months to assess smoking status and other risk factors. Nonparametric Kaplan-Meier methods and hierarchical Cox's proportional odds models were applied to explore the time patterns and predictors of the quitting process. Results: Half of the youth smokers initiated a quit attempt within 1 month after receiving the baseline telephone intervention, while the likelihood of further quit attempts decreased over time. Two thirds relapsed within the first 7 days after starting a quit attempt. Intention to quit, previous quit attempts, perceived physical unfitness, and other factors could predict the initiation of a quit attempt. Sustained abstinence was facilitated by making an immediate attempt to quit, adopting self-help strategies, and a perceived improvement in physical health. Conclusions: Our findings support the "catastrophic" pathway of youth smokers initiating a quit attempt. Counselors should capture the quitting momentum and motivate youth smokers to quit immediately. Interventions should include a health assessment and discussion of smokers' physical fitness. During the first week of abstinence, intensive monitoring of withdrawal symptoms, together with booster counseling, is helpful in preventing smoking relapse and could remotivate those who fail to sustain their quit attempt.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health