Anxiety and smoking cessation outcomes in alcohol-dependent smokers

Megan M Kelly, Christoffer Grant, Sharon Cooper, Judith L Cooney
Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2013, 15 (2): 364-75

INTRODUCTION: Anxiety-related characteristics, including anxiety sensitivity and trait anxiety, are elevated in individuals with alcohol and nicotine dependence and associated with greater difficulties with quitting smoking. However, little is known about how anxiety-related characteristics are related to smoking cessation outcomes in alcohol-dependent smokers. The present study, part of a larger smoking cessation clinical trial, examined associations between anxiety sensitivity, trait anxiety, nicotine withdrawal symptoms, smoking urges, and smoking cessation outcomes in a sample of 83 alcohol-dependent smokers.

METHODS: Participants were enrolled in concurrent alcohol and tobacco treatment as part of a substance-abuse intensive outpatient program. Smoking cessation treatment was administered in a 3-week cognitive-behavioral format that included 8 weeks of open-label nicotine patch treatment. Information on nicotine withdrawal, smoking urges, and CO-confirmed smoking consumption rates was collected at baseline, quit date, end of behavioral treatment, and at a 1-month follow-up.

RESULTS: Higher levels of anxiety sensitivity were associated with more smoking urges due to anticipation of negative affect relief at quit date. Higher levels of trait anxiety were associated with more smoking urges due to positive reinforcement and anticipation of relief of negative affect at quit date, as well as more severe nicotine withdrawal symptoms at the end of treatment. Levels of anxiety sensitivity and trait anxiety were not associated with Cox regression survival times to relapse.

CONCLUSION: These results indicate that for alcohol-dependent smokers, levels of anxiety sensitivity and trait anxiety are important to consider in the assessment and treatment of nicotine dependence.

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