Published Papers - Abstract 326

McDermott L, Dobson A & Owen N. Smoking reduction and cessation among young adult women: A seven-year prospective analysis. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2008; 10(9): 1457-1466

Aims: To examine prospectively, patterns of smoking behaviour and attributes associated with reductions in daily smoking and subsequent cessation over a seven-year period.Design, setting and participants: Women aged 18-23 years in 1996 were randomly selected from the national health insurance database, which provides the most complete listing of Australian residents. Mailed questionnaires were distributed in 1996 (Survey 1), 2000 (Survey 2) and 2003 (Survey 3). The analysis sample was the 972 women who were daily smokers with complete data on smoking at Survey 1, and who participated in all three surveys.Measurements: The main outcome variable was transitions in smoking behaviour between Surveys 1, 2 and 3, which included changes in the number of cigarettes smoked, changes to non-smoking and changes to non-daily smoking. Explanatory variables included prior smoking history, sociodemographic, lifestyle, psychosocial and health characteristics.Findings: A change from daily to non-daily smoking at Survey 2 was the strongest predictor of cessation at Survey 3. Baseline smoking level was not a significant predictor of smoking cessation. Becoming married increased the odds of cessation. Over the seven-year period, one-quarter of daily smokers reduced and maintained a lower level of smoking. Reducers were most likely to have been heavy smokers and to have used illicit drugs, compared to those who stopped smoking.Conclusions: Reducing from daily to non-daily smoking appears to be a more effective quitting strategy than reducing the number of cigarettes smoked daily. This observation warrants verification in other populations and in experimental studies.