Real-world effectiveness of smoking cessation strategies for young and older adults: Findings from a nationally representative cohort

Shannon Lea Watkins, Johannes Thrul, Wendy Max, Pamela M. Ling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Young adults have high combustible cigarette and e-cigarette use rates, and low utilization of evidence-based smoking cessation strategies compared to older adults. It is unknown whether young adults who try to quit smoking without assistance, with evidence-based strategies, or with e-cigarettes, are equally successful compared to older adults. Aims and Methods: This analysis used a population-based sample from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health study of young adult (aged 18-24, n = 745) and older adult (aged 25-64, n = 2057) established cigarette smokers at Wave 1 (2013-2014) who reported having made a quit attempt at Wave 2 (2014-2015). Cessation strategies were: behavioral therapy, pharmacotherapy, product substitution, 2+ strategies, and unassisted. Logistic regression estimated associations between cessation strategy and short-term cessation status at Wave 2 (quit, no quit); multinomial logistic regression predicted long-term cessation patterns at Waves 2 and 3 (sustained quit, temporary quit, delayed quit, no quit). Results: No cessation strategy (ref: unassisted) significantly predicted short-term cessation. No cessation strategy (ref: unassisted) significantly predicted long-term cessation patterns for young adults. Substitution with e-cigarettes predicted short-term cessation for older daily smokers of ≥5 cigarettes/day (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 1.70; 95% confidence interval: 1.08, 2.67) but did not predict long-term cessation patterns. Conclusions: Despite differences in cessation strategy use between young and older adult smokers, strategy effectiveness largely did not differ by age group. No strategy examined, including e-cigarettes, was significantly associated with successful cessation for young adults. More work is needed to identify effective interventions that help young adult smokers quit. Implications: (1) Neither behavioral support, pharmacotherapy, nor product substitution was associated with short-term cessation for young or older adults compared to quitting unassisted. (2) Neither behavioral support, pharmacotherapy, nor product substitution was associated with longer-term cessation for young or older adults compared to quitting unassisted. (3) Substitution with e-cigarettes predicted short-term cessation for older daily smokers of ≥5 cigarettes/day but was not associated with longer-term cessation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1560-1568
Number of pages9
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Volume22
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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