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behavior, health behavior, qualitative research, smoking cessation, tobacco, tobacco use cessation



  1. DiPiazza, Jennifer T. PhD, PMHNP-BC
  2. Naegle, Madeline PhD, CNS-PMH, BC, FAAN


Abstract: There is a paucity of research focused on the experience of maintaining cessation for a year or longer, and recidivism rates for smoking cessation are estimated at 50% to 97%. As cigarette smoking is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, there is a critical need for more knowledge about maintaining smoking cessation. Therefore, this study was undertaken to explore the lived experience of maintaining cigarette smoking cessation for a year or more. Using Streubert's nurse-developed descriptive phenomenological method, seven adults who sustained cessation for 1.5 to 18 years, after repeated relapses, were interviewed about their experience of sustaining cessation. Data collection included interviews, field notes, and a reflexive journal. Phenomenological analysis involved dwelling intensely with the data, extracting parts of the transcript, and identifying codes and themes, defined by Streubert as essences, common to all participants' descriptions of the experience of sustained cessation. Through this inductive process, the investigator ascertained relationships among the essences, forming the basis for a formalized, exhaustive description of the experience. Six essences captured participants' experiences of maintaining cigarette smoking cessation: (a) breaking free, (b) developing an olfactory aversion, (c) reframing, (d) learning through relapse, (e) reclaiming acceptance, and (f) self-transformation. The findings suggest that maintaining cessation for a year or more is shaped by biological, psychological, and social conditions, as reflected in the essences. The essences coalesced to a tipping point of motivation and conditions leading to sustained behavior change, allowing participants to maintain cessation.