The prevalence of cigarette smoking has decreased
over the past 35 years. Most prevalence estimates,
however, are based on cross-sectional surveys that
are vulnerable to misclassification errors. We used
prospective data collected on a cohort of adult
males to provide information on smoking cessation
patterns over the period 1963-1998.
Subjects were from the Normative Aging Study,
whose 2,280 members represent a middle-class
sample residing in the greater-Boston area. We
calculated quit rates for each year from 1963-1998,
and we also sub-divided the sample by age group,
education status, and amount smoked, and
calculated quit rates for these subgroups.
The majority (80%) quit smoking. Yearly rates of
cessation rose substantially in the period 1965-
1969, and remained high for the next 30 years.
The most striking sub-group differences were
between light (15 cigarettes per day or less) and
heavy smokers (greater than 15 cigarettes per day),
with light smokers significantly more likely to quit.
Older smokers had significantly higher cessation
rates compared to middle-aged and younger
smokers. The most highly-educated smokers were
marginally more likely to quit than the least educated.
Results suggest that the majority of male smokers
will quit smoking over a protracted period of time.
Though heavily-dependent smokers were less likely
to quit than lighter smokers, even the majority of
heavily-dependent smokers quit over time. Our
results as a whole are very encouraging, and suggest
that 4 out of 5 adult male smokers will eventually
Conducted at the Harvard School of Dental
Medicine; supported by grant DA10073 from the
National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Study smoking cessation patterns over a period of
35 years (from 1962-1996) in healthy male smokers.
Examine effects of age, education, and amount
smoked on cessation patterns.
SMOKING CESSATION PATTERNS IN ADULT MALES FOLLOWED FOR 35 YEARS
Arthur J. Garvey, Ph.D., Taru Kinnunen, Ph.D., Zandra N. Quiles, Ph.D