Background. It is important to understand the experiences surrounding smoking cessation among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to improve the likely success of future smoking cessation programs.
Objective. To explore the personal experiences surrounding smoking cessation among general practice patients with COPD.
Methods. A purposive sample of 33 general practice patients with COPD, 28 ex-smokers and 5 smokers, participated in the semi-structured telephone interviews. Thematic analysis was conducted using a predominantly deductive approach guided by the Behaviour Change Wheel framework.
Results. Three inter-related themes were generated: the motivation, opportunities and capabilities among the participants to quit and maintain smoking cessation. Most quit attempts occurred without explanation or prior planning, though some attempts were motivated by the participants' family, peers or GP. Internet-based smoking cessation support programs led by general practices and involving the practice nurse were perceived as opportunities to engage in quit attempts. Most participants, both ex-smokers and smokers, demonstrated capacity to engage in multiple quit attempts. However, for many smokers, boredom, mood disturbances, the strong sense of identity as a smoker, peer reinforcement, irritability, cravings, hunger and weight gain limited capability to maintain smoking cessation.
Conclusions. Patients with COPD have motivation to quit and have demonstrated capacity to engage in multiple quit attempts. GPs and other primary care practitioners need to recognize the patients' spontaneity around quit attempts and to meet the needs of the individual patient by being ready to offer support for each attempt once the patient has made their decision to quit.