The effect of abstinence on cigarette consumption upon the resumption of smoking

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; Center for Health Policy and Research

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Behavior, Addictive; Female; Humans; Male; Motivation; Retrospective Studies; Smoking; Smoking Cessation; Time Factors; Tobacco Use Disorder


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Preventive Medicine | Primary Care


To study the impact of abstinence on the number of cigarettes smoked per day upon the resumption of smoking, adult current smokers completed retrospective surveys in two studies. The consumption rate demonstrated at the resumption of smoking fell with progressively longer abstinence periods out to 6 months, showing little further reduction even after years of abstinence. Subjects in Study 1 (n=848) resumed smoking at 34% of their lifetime peak rate of consumption, accelerating to 58% at 2 weeks, to 64% at 1 month, and to 68% at 6 months. Subjects in Study 2 (n=803) resumed smoking at 48% of their pre-quit peak rate of consumption, accelerating to 69% at 1 week, to 78% at 2 weeks, and to 88% at 6 months. The trajectory of consumption with the resumption of smoking differs from that in novice smokers, suggesting that some impact of nicotine persists during abstinence. The shapes of the observed trajectories suggest that more than one process may be at work. Prospective studies are needed to confirm these findings.

DOI of Published Version



Addict Behav. 2006 Apr;31(4):711-6. Epub 2005 Jun 27. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Addictive behaviors

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID