Smoking history, nicotine dependence, and changes in craving and mood during short-term smoking abstinence in alcohol dependent vs. control smokers

Jaimee L Heffner, Carolyn Mingione, Thomas J Blom, Robert M Anthenelli
Addictive Behaviors 2011, 36 (3): 244-7

OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to compare lifetime cigarette smoking, severity of nicotine dependence, and subjective effects of short-term tobacco abstinence in abstinent alcohol dependent (AD) and control smokers.

METHOD: AD (n=119) and control (n=55) ever-smokers were compared on tobacco use history and nicotine dependence. Negative affect and craving to smoke were examined in a subsample of currently smoking AD (N=34) and control (N=19) participants during a 6-h period of tobacco abstinence using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and the Questionnaire on Smoking Urges-Brief (QSU-B).

RESULTS: Although AD smokers did not differ from controls on heaviness of smoking, they were more likely to meet lifetime criteria for nicotine dependence. AD smokers also reported more withdrawal symptoms and were more likely to endorse withdrawal-related depressed mood during past smoking reduction or abstinence periods. During short-term abstinence, AD smokers were more likely to report high craving to smoke for negative affect relief within the first 150 min of tobacco abstinence, but did not differ from controls on overall craving to smoke or withdrawal-related negative affect on the POMS.

CONCLUSIONS: Results support previous findings that AD smokers have a greater prevalence of nicotine dependence and more severe nicotine withdrawal, with a greater propensity toward withdrawal-related depressed mood. These results, along with our novel finding that greater craving to smoke in abstaining smokers with AD is specific to negative affect-related craving, suggest that negative reinforcement may be a particularly salient factor in the maintenance of tobacco use among individuals with AD.

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