Smoking intentions and mood preceding lapse after completion of treatment to aid smoking cessation.
ABSTRACT To examine the situation preceding "late" smoking relapse, particularly the availability of tobacco, mood and intentions at first lapse.
A questionnaire was sent to 1439 adults identified as abstinent after treatment with a National Health Service stop-smoking clinic over the previous 3 years. Relapsers were asked where they had obtained their first cigarette, their mood and intentions immediately before first lapse.
40% (n = 556) responded, of whom 35.8% (n = 199) had relapsed. At the time of first lapse, only 27.1% had made a decision to return to smoking while 48.9% intended to smoke only one or two cigarettes before stopping again. In 45.7% of cases, respondents bought cigarettes to smoke again. Prior to lapse the majority (53.8%) reported "really needing a cigarette". Similarly 53.8% reported being miserable at the time, while only 16% were happy.
The most common pattern of late lapse appears to be intending to suspend the quit attempt temporarily in circumstances of needing to smoke and of negative emotional state, and in many cases cigarettes are actually sought out.
Promoting strong 'not a puff' rules, a non-smoker identity and identifying negative mood as a potential vulnerability are important components of relapse prevention intervention.