Factors related to the success of smoking cessation: A retrospective cohort study in Korea

Yoon Hee Eum, Ho Jun Kim, Seolah Bak, Sung Ha Lee, Jinri Kim, Su Hyeon Park, Seo Eun Hwang, Bumjo Oh

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INTRODUCTION Every year, at least half of the smokers in South Korea attempt to quit smoking. However, the Korean smoking rate remains still high among OECD countries. This study aimed to identify the factors that influence the success of smoking cessation efforts. METHODS The study included 1395 smokers, who participated in a 12-week program comprising doctor counseling and pharmacological treatment (i.e. varenicline), conducted at smoking cessation clinics in two general hospitals from 2015 to 2019. The participants responded to a survey questionnaire inquiring about their smoking behaviors at the first visit to the clinic. After completing the program, they were asked whether they succeeded in smoking cessation. Based on participants’ reported success or failure, multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to obtain adjusted odds ratios (AORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for factors related to smoking cessation success. RESULTS Following the 12-week program, 39.6% of the participants (n=553) succeeded in smoking cessation. Lower rates of nicotine dependence (AOR=0.73; 95% Cl: 0.54–0.98) and lower total amounts of smoking (AOR=0.67; 95% Cl: 0.47–0.95) were significantly associated with higher success rates in smoking cessation. In addition, smokers who participated in the program for at least 8 weeks (AOR=7.16; 95% Cl: 5.57–9.20) and smokers who had hypertension (AOR=1.40; 95% Cl: 1.07–1.85) or a cardiovascular disease (AOR=1.68; 95% Cl: 1.03–2.75) achieved higher success rates. CONCLUSIONS Smokers’ success in smoking cessation was influenced by the period of visits to the smoking cessation clinic, the severity of nicotine dependence, and the presence of a cardiovascular disease including hypertension. Using these factors, smoking cessation strategy may be improved and personalized for individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalTobacco Induced Diseases
Issue number2 February
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Fagerström score
  • Nicotine dependence
  • Predictor
  • Smoking cessation
  • Underlying disease


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