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cardiac rehabilitation, craving, intention, self-efficacy, smoking cessation



  1. Bakker, Esther C. PhD
  2. Nijkamp, Marjan D. PhD
  3. Sloot, Caroline MSc
  4. Berndt, Nadine C. PhD
  5. Bolman, Catherine A. W. PhD


Background: Smoking cessation after developing coronary heart disease improves disease prognosis more than any other treatment. However, many cardiac patients continue to smoke after hospital discharge.


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate factors associated with the intention to (permanently) abstain from smoking among cardiac rehabilitation patients 2 to 4 weeks after discharge from hospital.


Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 149 cardiac rehabilitation patients recruited from 2 cardiac rehabilitation centers in The Netherlands 2 to 4 weeks after hospital discharge, at the start of the cardiac rehabilitation period. Psychosocial cognitions including attitude toward nonsmoking, social influence, and self-efficacy were measured with a standardized and validated Dutch questionnaire based on the Attitude-Social Influence-Self-efficacy model. Anxiety was measured using the shortened version of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Craving for cigarettes was assessed with 6 items measuring the urge to smoke. Intention toward nonsmoking was assessed with 2 visual analog scales indicating the strength and probability of the intention to permanently refrain from smoking.


Results: Of all patients, 31% still smoked after hospital discharge. The smokers had a lower self-efficacy and intention to abstain from smoking and reported higher craving. Logistic regression analyses revealed that attitudes that embraced the advantages of not smoking, self-efficacy, and craving were significantly related to the intention to (permanently) abstain from smoking, whereas social influence and anxiety were not. Actual smoking behavior moderated the relation between self-efficacy and intention: only the quitters showed a significant positive relation. Anxiety did not moderate the relationship between psychosocial cognitive factors and intention.


Conclusions: The intention to (permanently) abstain from smoking, measured 2 to 4 weeks after hospitalization for a cardiac event, predominantly depends on attitude, self-efficacy, and craving. Interventions aimed at smoking cessation among cardiac rehabilitation patients should focus on these factors.