Effects of rapid smoking on post-cessation urges to smoke

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Rapid smoking (RS) is a smoking cessation technique with sufficient indications of promise to warrant further investigation. The main presumed effect of RS is on reducing desire to smoke.


To evaluate the effect of a single session of RS immediately prior to quitting smoking on urges to smoke over the first week of abstinence.


Randomized controlled trial.


Specialist smoking cessation clinic (SSCC).


A total of 100 smokers attending the quit day session.


Participants in the rapid smoking group underwent a single session of RS immediately prior to quitting smoking. Participants in the control group watched a health promotion video on giving up smoking.

Primary outcome measures

Ratings of urges to smoke in the first 24 hours and 1 week of abstinence.


The RS procedure was well tolerated. It led to significantly lower urges to smoke compared to the control procedure during the first 24 hours (mean rating of 2.6 versus 3.2, P < 0.001) and the first week of abstinence (1.8 versus 2.5, P < 0.01). In patients abstinent for 4 weeks, urges to smoke were low and the difference was no longer significant (1.4 versus 1.8).


RS has an ‘active ingredient’ (craving reduction) and its effects on smoking cessation may merit further examination using modern rigorous methodology.

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