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Introduction: A Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco working group recommended outcome measures for cessation-induction trials and aid-to-cessation trials. Cessation-induction trials aim to motivate unwilling quitters to make a quit attempt. Aid-to-cessation trials give either medication or behavioral interventions to increase the rate at which willing quitters succeed in their attempts. Nicotine-assisted reduction programs combine features of both types of interventions by giving nicotine replacement to unwilling quitters. Treatment can be prolonged more than a year, quit attempts can occur and succeed early or late in the program, and renewed quit attempts are an inherent part of the program. Conventional outcome measures are tied to a fixed but arbitrary point in follow-up and cannot capture the true outcome: Prolonged cessation anchored to the point at which a person makes a successful quit attempt. Discussion: We propose that the outcome should be counted from the successful quit attempt that began during the treatment period and continues for a defined period, ideally 6 months. In particular, if a trial compared a short reduction program with a long reduction program, it would not be possible to obtain an unbiased assessment of the outcome of such a trial using a measure tied to a fixed point in follow-up. Floating prolonged abstinence could provide such an assessment and is suitable for either prolonged cessation-induction trial or combined cessation-induction and aid-to-cessation trials. © The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Publication Date





475 - 480