This study aims to answer the question to which extent even very heavy nicotine-dependent smokers can benefit from a 3-week inpatient smoking cessation program. A particular focus lies on analyzing the positive effects, which go above and beyond normally anticipated health benefits.
This is a descriptive study observing 270 patients over a 1-year period consisting of recruitment, therapy, and two post-therapy follow-up visits at 6-month interval. Gender differences, changes in body weight, and factors relating to addiction and the nicotine withdrawal process are analyzed. In comparing successful participants—post-therapy nonsmokers—with less successful ones, our analysis identifies benefits and advantages an inpatient smoking cessation therapy can bring to even the heaviest smokers.
At the 12-month post-therapy follow-up visit, 42.6 % of participants were identified as nonsmokers. A total of 34.0 % of participants took up smoking again. No data is available on the remaining participants. Nonsmokers experienced significant reduction in nicotine craving and withdrawal symptoms. In terms of body weight, increases were found in both, men and women, nonsmokers and smokers.
Successful quitters fail to report of an unbearable strong desire to smoke. Such unfounded fear should be communicated. Weight gain remains an undesired side effect. Hence, it is crucial to diagnose individuals more prone to weight gain and offer coping strategies thus reducing the risk of developing obesity. Nevertheless, the outcome of the study should be an encouragement to also heavy smokers and empower them to undertake smoking cessation.