Some clinicians and patients believe that cough and sputum production may transiently increase over the first weeks after smoking cessation and may in fact represent a barrier to successful quitting. The present study described changes in cough after an attempt to quit smoking cigarettes and determined patients' perceptions of how changes in cough affected their ability to maintain abstinence from smoking. Daily smokers already recruited for ongoing outpatient clinical trials of pharmacological aids to quit cigarette smoking were invited to complete self-report questionnaires about their cough for up to 6 weeks after their target quit date (TQD). Of the 176 subjects invited to participate, 112 completed the first assessment after the TQD. Of these, a total of 45 subjects maintained at least 1week of smoking abstinence at some point in the 6-week period (confirmed by carbon monoxide measurements). Two self-report measures found that cough declined steadily in abstinent smokers but was constant in a comparator group of continuing smokers (n=36). For the 94 subjects who reported smoking at least one cigarette following the TQD, few reported that changes in cough affected their abstinence attempt. For three items asking about this area, the upper 95% confidence interval was no more than 10% for agreement that changes in cough posed any barrier to abstinence. We conclude that an initial increase in cough is unlikely to occur among relatively healthy smokers who stop smoking and that changes in cough do not represent a barrier to maintaining abstinence for most smokers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health