Do cravings predict smoking cessation in smokers calling a national quit line: secondary analyses from a randomised trial for the utility of 'urges to smoke' measures.
Taggar JS, Lewis S, Docherty G, Bauld L, McEwen A, Coleman T
Background Single-item urges to smoke measures have been contemplated as important measures of nicotine dependence This study aimed to prospectively determine the relationships between measures of craving to smoke and smoking cessation, and compare their ability to predict cessation with the Heaviness of Smoking Index, an established measure of nicotine dependence. Methods We conducted a secondary analysis of data from the randomised controlled PORTSSS trial. Measures of nicotine dependence, ascertained before making a quit attempt, were the HSI, frequency of urges to smoke (FUTS) and strength of urges to smoke (SUTS). Self-reported abstinence at six months after quitting was the primary outcome measure. Multivariate logistic regression and Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) analysis were used to assess associations and abilities of the nicotine dependence measures to predict smoking cessation. Results Of 2,535 participants, 53.5% were female; the median (Interquartile range) age was 38 (28–50) years. Both FUTS and HSI were inversely associated with abstinence six months after quitting; for each point increase in HSI score, participants were 16% less likely to have stopped smoking (OR 0.84, 95% C.I 0.78-0.89, p < 0.0001). Compared to participants with the lowest possible FUTS scores, those with greater scores had generally lower odds of cessation (p across frequency of urges categories=0.0026). SUTS was not associated with smoking cessation. ROC analysis suggested the HSI and FUTS had similar predictive validity for cessation. Conclusions Higher FUTS and HSI scores were inversely associated with successful smoking cessation six months after quit attempts began and both had similar validity for predicting cessation.