Assessing nicotine dependence
- How many minutes after waking do you smoke your first cigarette?
- How many cigarettes do you smoke per day?
- Have you had cravings and withdrawal symptoms in previous quit attempts?
Nicotine dependence is likely when the patient
- smokes within 30 minutes of waking or
- smokes more than 10 cigarettes per day* or
- has a history of withdrawal symptoms during previous quit attempts.
Patients who have had withdrawal symptoms before can expect to experience them in subsequent attempts.
For a more detailed assessment using the modified Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence, see the RACGP smoking cessation guidelines.
* RACGP guidelines state a threshold of 15 cigarettes per day; there is no consensus on the precise number.