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Open Access Research article

The role of action planning and plan enactment for smoking cessation

Hein de Vries1*, Sander M Eggers1 and Catherine Bolman2

Author Affiliations

1 Care and Public Health Research Institute, Department of Health Promotion, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

2 Faculty of Psychology, Open University of the Netherlands, PO Box 2960, Heerlen 6401 DL, The Netherlands

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:393  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-393

Published: 26 April 2013

Abstract

Background

Several studies have reemphasized the role of action planning. Yet, little attention has been paid to the role of plan enactment. This study assesses the determinants and the effects of action planning and plan enactment on smoking cessation.

Methods

One thousand and five participants completed questionnaires at baseline and at follow-ups after one and six months. Factors queried were part of the I-Change model. Descriptive analyses were used to assess which plans were enacted the most. Multivariate linear regression analyses were used to assess whether the intention to quit smoking predicted action planning and plan enactment, and to assess which factors would predict quitting behavior. Subsequently, both multivariate and univariate regression analyses were used to assess which particular action plans would be most effective in predicting quitting behavior. Similar analyses were performed among a subsample of smokers prepared to quit within one month.

Results

Smokers who intended to quit smoking within the next month had higher levels of action planning than those intending to quit within a year. Additional predictors of action planning were being older, being female, having relatively low levels of cigarette dependence, perceiving more positive and negative consequences of quitting, and having high self-efficacy toward quitting. Plan enactment was predicted by baseline intention to quit and levels of action planning. Regression analysis revealed that smoking cessation after six months was predicted by low levels of depression, having a non-smoking partner, the intention to quit within the next month, and plan enactment. Only 29% of the smokers who executed relatively few plans had quit smoking versus 59% of the smokers who executed many plans. The most effective preparatory plans for smoking cessation were removing all tobacco products from the house and choosing a specific date to quit.

Conclusion

Making preparatory plans to quit smoking is important because it also predicts plan enactment, which is predictive of smoking cessation. Not all action plans were found to be predictive of smoking cessation. The effects of planning were not very much different between the total sample and smokers prepared to quit within one month.

Keywords:
Smoking cessation; Action planning; Preparatory planning; Plan enactment; Planned quit attempts