This is one point that I often find very confusing. When I say “I stopped smoking” I mean literally: “I stopped inhaling burned tobacco smoke”. And the answer often is: “No you didn’t, you are still inhaling nicotine”. And it isn’t much better when I read scientific studies. Here I read “cessation” or “selfreported abstinence”, but seldom a clear definition what exactly the author or the queried persons mean when they use these terms. And it’s even worse when these studies hit the media. So, please make it abundantly clear, what your definition is. In the abstract as well as again in the conclusion. So that nobody can miss it. Eliminate this potential source of misunderstanding.
Here are different (implied) definitions of “cessation” / “abstinence” I have encountered so far:
- Partial: Replacing most of the smoking by other sources of nicotine. The dreaded dual use. I never could understand how this can be considered worse than smoking.
- Smoking: No more burned tobacco. But still using nicotine. E.g. Vaping or smokeless tobacco.
- Tobacco: No more tobacco in any form. Other sources of nicotine.
- Nicotine: No more tobacco, no more nicotine. Possibly still vaping. (Behavior.)
- Total: Nothing. Not even vaping without nicotine.
How much side effects defintions have can be seen with the “study” where the CDC simply defined that “probably not” means “yes”: