The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4185.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 3:30 PM

Abstract #72586

”Withdrawal symptoms” among adolescent never smokers

Alexander V. Prokhorov, MD, PhD1, Steven H Kelder, PhD, MPH2, Paul Cinciripini, PhD1, Jennifer L. Conroy, DrPH, MPH1, Carl de Moor, PhD1, and Carolyn Agurcia, MA3. (1) Department of Behavioral Sciences, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, HMB 3.063.11, Houston, TX 77030, 713-745-2382,, (2) School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, 7000 Fannin, Suite 2658, Houston, TX 77030, (3) Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, UT-Houston School of Public Health, 7000 Fannin, Houston, TX 77030

Tobacco researchers are becoming increasingly interested in nicotine dependence and withdrawal among adolescents. We hypothesized that the majority of withdrawal symptoms commonly observed among adults and reported by adolescent quitters might manifest in troubles associated with the adolescent lifestyles rather than with tobacco abstinence. Within the framework of Project ASPIRE, a sample of 1447 predominantly minority students (42% males; mean age 15.6 years) completed the baseline survey, which measured the self-reported frequency of withdrawal symptoms based on the Hughes & Hatsukami scale among both, quitters and nonsmokers. We received data from 799 never smokers and 51 quitters. Two items: “Cravings or strong urges to smoke” (0.95 vs. 0.11; p<0.001) and “Feeling irritable or angry” (0.91 vs. 0.76 [p=0.04] reliably differentiated never smokers from quitters. “Feeling restless” also showed substantial differences between the two groups (0.88 vs. 0.65 [p=0.07]). The remaining items, including, “Trouble sleeping at night” (0.58 vs. .071), “Having trouble concentrating” (0.72 vs. 0.70), “Increased hunger or weight” (0.65 vs. 0.53), and “Feeling sad, down, or depressed” (0.63 vs. 0.66) did not significantly differ between quitters and never smokers. Thus, nicotine withdrawal among adolescents may resemble that of adults on measures of craving and irritability and possibly restlessness, but not on many other symptoms often associated with withdrawal. These symptoms may not be specific to nicotine withdrawal but rather, may represent the normal experience of adolescence. Our findings, however, need to be replicated using more rigorous methodology and in more balanced samples of adolescent quitters and never smokers.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Tobacco, Smoking Cessation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

ASPIRE: A CD ROM-Based Smoking Prevention and Cessation Curriculum for Urban Youth

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA