Protocol - Methods of Quitting Smoking Cigarettes - Adults

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These self-administered questions ask current smokers about their attempts to stop smoking cigarettes within the past 3 months and what method or methods they used to quit.

Specific Instructions

Because these questions are asked of current cigarette smokers only, current cigarette smoking status should be ascertained before administering this protocol. The Smoking Cessation, Harm Reduction, and Biomarkers Working Group notes that these questions can also be asked of current users of other tobacco products or former smokers.


1. During the past 3 months, how many times have you stopped smoking for one day or longer because you were trying to quit smoking cigarettes for good?

Response: Enter number of times _____ [RANGE: 1 - 99]

[ ] Dont Know/Refused

2. [Ask only if Q1= one or more times] When you last tried to quit smoking, did you do any of the following? (Respondent was permitted to select one or more of the 10 quit-method categories used in his or her most recent quit attempt; thus, categories are not mutually exclusive.)

2A. Gave up cigarettes all at once

1[ ]Yes

2[ ]No

2B. Gradually cut back on cigarettes

1[ ]Yes

2[ ]No

2C. Substituted some regular cigarettes with e-cigarettes

1[ ]Yes

2[ ]No

2D. Used nicotine patch or nicotine gum

1[ ]Yes

2[ ]No

2E. Switched completely to e-cigarettes

1[ ]Yes

2[ ]No

2F. Switched to “mild” cigarettes

1[ ]Yes

2[ ]No

2G. Got help from a doctor or other health professional

1[ ]Yes

2[ ]No

2H. Used FDA-approved medications such as Zyban®1 or Chantix®2

1[ ]Yes

2[ ]No

2I. Got help from a website such as Smokefree.gov

1[ ]Yes

2[ ]No

2J. Got help from a telephone quitline

1[ ]Yes

2[ ]No

2 Pfizer



Personnel and Training Required


Equipment Needs


Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Self-administered questionnaire

Life Stage



Current smokers

Adults (aged 18 or older)

Selection Rationale

Combinations of pharmacotherapy and behavioral approaches may be used in quitting smoking. This protocol captures number of quit attempts in the past 3 months, as well as the use of one or multiple methods in combination to quit.



caDSR Common Data Elements (CDE) Smoking Adult Cigarette Quitting Method Questionnaire Assessment Text   7580707 CDE Browser
Derived Variables


Process and Review

Not Applicable

Protocol Name from Source

Caraballo RS, et al. Quit Methods Used by US Adult Cigarette Smokers, 2014-2016. Prev Chronic Dis, 2017.


Caraballo, R. S., Shafer, P. R., Patel, D., Davis, K. C., & McAfee, T. A. (2017). Quit methods used by US adult cigarette smokers, 2014-2016. Prevention of Chronic Disease, 14, E32.

General References

Hummel, K., Nagelhout, G. E., Fong, G. T., Vardavas, C. I., Papadakis, S., Herbeć, A., Mons, U., van den Putte, B., Borland, R., Fernández, E., de Vries, H., McNeill, A., Gravely, S., Przewoźniak, K., Kovacs, P., Trofor, A. C., & Willemsen, M. C. (2018). Quitting activity and use of cessation assistance reported by smokers in eight European countries: Findings from the EUREST-PLUS ITC Europe Surveys. Tobacco Induced Diseases, 16(Suppl 2), A6.

Papadakis, S., Katsaounou, P. A., Kyriakos, C. N., Balmford, J., Tzavara, C. K., Girvalaki, C., Driezen, P., Filippidis, F. T., Herbec, A., Hummel, K., McNeill, A., Mons, U., Fernández, E., Fu, M., Trofor, A., Demjén, T., ZatoÅ„ski, W., Willemsen, M. C., Fong, G. T., & Vardavas, C. (in press). Quitting behaviours and cessation methods used in 8 European Countries in 2018: Findings from the EUREST-PLUS ITC Europe Surveys. European Journal of Public Health, 30(Suppl 3), iii26-iii33.

Rodu, B., & Plurphanswat, N. (2017). Quit methods used by American smokers, 2013-2014. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(11), 1403.

Soulakova, J. N., & Crockett, L. J. (2017). Unassisted quitting and smoking cessation methods used in the United States: Analyses of 2010-2011 Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey data. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 20(1), 30-39.

Sutanto, E., Miller, C., Smith, D. M., OConnor, R. J., Quah, A., Cummings, K. M., Xu, S., Fong, G. T., Hyland, A., Ouimet, J., Yoshimi, I., Mochizuki, Y., Tabuchi, T., & Goniewicz, M. L. (2019). Prevalence, use behaviors, and preferences among users of heated tobacco products: Findings from the 2018 ITC Japan Survey. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(23), 4630.

Verbiest, M., Brakema, E., van der Kleij, R., Sheals, K., Allistone, G., Williams, S., McEwen, A., & Chavannes, N. (2017). National guidelines for smoking cessation in primary care: A literature review and evidence analysis. NPJ Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, 27(1), 2.

Protocol ID


Export Variables
Variable Name Variable IDVariable DescriptiondbGaP Mapping
Smoking Cessation, Harm Reduction and Biomarkers
Measure Name

Methods of Quitting Smoking Cigarettes - Adults

Release Date

February 23, 2021


Describes strategies for stopping the use of tobacco products including electronic nicotine delivery systems.


To capture interventions for smoking cessation, pharmacological and behavioral strategies are common and, when used in combination, are likely to lead to higher levels of assisted success. Unassisted quitting is the most common approach.


Smoking Cessation, Harm Reduction, and Biomarkers, smoking, quitting smoking, quit, quit method, intervention, pharmacologic, behavioral, cessation strategies, electronic nicotine delivery systems, ENDS