Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Health

First Advisor's Name

Wasim Maziak

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Kenneth D.Ward

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Kristopher Fennie

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Stefany Coxe

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Tan Li

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Smoking cessation, tobacco control, low-income, developing countries, waterpipe

Date of Defense



The most commonly attributed causes of failure of smoking cessation are non-adherence to treatment, experiencing severe nicotine withdrawal symptoms and post-cessation weight gain. However, there is a lack of information regarding these factors among smokers who attempt to quit in low-income country settings. The main objective of this study was to identify predictors of: 1) adherence to cessation treatment; 2) severity of withdrawal symptoms: and 3) post-cessation changes in body mass index among 269 smokers who attempted to quit in a randomized smoking cessation trial in a low-income country setting (Aleppo, Syria). All participants received behavioral counseling and were randomized to receive either 6 weeks of nicotine or placebo patch and were followed for one year.

Findings from logistic regression showed that lower adherence to cessation treatment was associated with higher daily smoking, greater withdrawal symptoms, waterpipe use, being on placebo patch and the perception of receiving placebo patch. Generalized estimating equation (GEE) analyses indicated that throughout the study, lower total withdrawal score was associated with greater education, older age of smoking initiation, higher confidence in ability to quit, higher adherence to patch, lower nicotine dependence, lower reported depression, waterpipe use and the perception of receiving nicotine patches rather than placebo. Further, smoking abstainers gained 1.8 BMI units (approximately 4.8kg) greater than non-abstainers over one year post quitting. In addition, greater BMI was associated with being female, smoking to control weight and having previously failed to quit due to weight gain.

In conclusion, nicotine dependence, waterpipe use and expectancies regarding cessation treatment are important factors that influence adherence to cessation treatment and severity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, targeted interventions that take into consideration the prevailing local and cultural influences on diet and levels of physical activity are recommended especially for females and smokers with weight concerns prior to quitting. Collectively, these findings will help in conducting future tailored effective cessation programs in Syria and other low-income countries with similar levels of developments and tobacco use patterns.







Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).