A preliminary investigation of rapid smoking as a lapse-responsive treatment for tobacco dependence

Laura M. Juliano, Elisabeth J. Houtsmuller, Maxine L. Stitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Lapses within the first 2 weeks of a smoking cessation attempt are strongly associated with a return to regular smoking (S. L. Kenford et al., 1994). Unfortunately, little is known about how to prevent an initial lapse from progressing to a full relapse, and presently there are no validated lapse-responsive therapeutic interventions. The present study tested the efficacy and feasibility of rapid smoking plus counseling as a novel lapse-responsive intervention. Sixty-seven participants enrolled in a smoking treatment program involving brief counseling and a 9-week course of bupropion. Beginning on the quit day, participants' smoking behavior was tracked daily for 14 days. Once an early smoking lapse was identified, participants were randomly assigned to receive either 3 sessions of rapid smoking plus counseling or no intervention (usual care). Consistent with previous research, participants who smoked during the first 2 weeks of the quit attempt had significantly poorer 6-month outcomes (3% abstinent) than did those who did not smoke (64% abstinent). Compared with early abstainers, early lapsers were more nicotine dependent and reported greater cravings and lower confidence in their ability to abstain from smoking during the first 48 hours of abstinence. As expected, rapid smoking produced a variety of aversive effects, including increased nausea, dizziness, and vomiting as well as sharply decreased cravings to smoke. However, rapid smoking did not improve abstinence outcomes relative to usual care. Although rapid smoking has been shown to be an effective treatment for initial smoking cessation, in this preliminary study the authors failed to demonstrate its effectiveness as a lapse-responsive treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-438
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental and clinical psychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Behavior therapy
  • Counterconditioning
  • Lapse
  • Rapid smoking
  • Smoking cessation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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