Introduction: Each year about two thirds of U.S. smokers make a quit attempt. Yet, less than 5% remain abstinent three months post-quit date. One factor that may affect abstinence is negative feelings about the self-associated with being a smoker (disequilibrium), particularly if smoking is important to the sense of self and one is trying to quit.
Aims: We evaluated a multivariate structural equation model proposing that smoking's subjective importance to a smoker would influence carbon monoxide verified smoking abstinence at 24 weeks (post-quit date). Further, we assessed whether the relation would be moderated by the smoker's experience of disequilibrium.
Methods: Participants were 440 regular smokers taking part in a clinical trial assessing the effectiveness of different durations of nicotine replacement therapy use. Participants completed the subjective importance of smoking survey at baseline and were assessed for carbon monoxide verified seven-day point prevalence abstinence at 24 weeks
Results: Using exploratory structural equation modelling, the subjective importance of smoking was associated with point prevalence abstinence at 24 weeks, but only for smokers with high disequilibrium.
Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that experiencing negative feelings about being a smoker could motivate smokers to remain abstinent, despite the importance of smoking to the smoker's sense of self.