Subjective reactivity to the first cigarette of the day as a predictor of smoking relapse: a preliminary study

Benjamin A Toll, Ty S Schepis, Stephanie S O'Malley, Sherry A McKee, Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin
Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2007 July 10, 89 (2-3): 302-5
We examined subjective responses to smoking the first cigarette of the day and investigated how these responses related to smoking cessation treatment outcome. Data from participants (N=207) in a clinical trial of message framing for smoking cessation with bupropion, obtained prior to the targeted quit day, were used to examine indices of craving, withdrawal, and affect before and after smoking the first cigarette of the day. After smoking the initial cigarette, craving, withdrawal symptoms, and negative affect were lessened, and positive affect increased. Greater decreases in craving as measured by the questionnaire on smoking urges-brief (QSU-Brief) predicted relapse at the end of treatment (6 weeks) and at the 3-month follow-up time point. These associations do not appear to be mediated by established measures of dependence. Thus, this preliminary study provides evidence that there are significant changes in craving, withdrawal, and affect related to smoking the first cigarette of the day, with the largest of these changes observed for craving. Moreover, changes in tobacco craving in response to the first cigarette of the day may be a novel predictor of smoking relapse that should be tested in future studies.

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