Background: Smoking cessation after developing coronary heart disease improves disease prognosis more than any other treatment. However, many cardiac patients continue to smoke after hospital discharge.
Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate factors associated with the intention to (permanently) abstain from smoking among cardiac rehabilitation patients 2 to 4 weeks after discharge from hospital.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 149 cardiac rehabilitation patients recruited from 2 cardiac rehabilitation centers in The Netherlands 2 to 4 weeks after hospital discharge, at the start of the cardiac rehabilitation period. Psychosocial cognitions including attitude toward nonsmoking, social influence, and self-efficacy were measured with a standardized and validated Dutch questionnaire based on the Attitude–Social Influence–Self-efficacy model. Anxiety was measured using the shortened version of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Craving for cigarettes was assessed with 6 items measuring the urge to smoke. Intention toward nonsmoking was assessed with 2 visual analog scales indicating the strength and probability of the intention to permanently refrain from smoking.
Results: Of all patients, 31% still smoked after hospital discharge. The smokers had a lower self-efficacy and intention to abstain from smoking and reported higher craving. Logistic regression analyses revealed that attitudes that embraced the advantages of not smoking, self-efficacy, and craving were significantly related to the intention to (permanently) abstain from smoking, whereas social influence and anxiety were not. Actual smoking behavior moderated the relation between self-efficacy and intention: only the quitters showed a significant positive relation. Anxiety did not moderate the relationship between psychosocial cognitive factors and intention.
Conclusions: The intention to (permanently) abstain from smoking, measured 2 to 4 weeks after hospitalization for a cardiac event, predominantly depends on attitude, self-efficacy, and craving. Interventions aimed at smoking cessation among cardiac rehabilitation patients should focus on these factors.