Quitting Smoking Is Tough for Teens, Too

One-day abstinence causes withdrawal symptoms, smoking urges, negative mood, cravings

TUESDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Teenagers mostly experience the same negative effects of smoking abstinence and withdrawal as adults, according to a study published online Sept. 4 in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

L. Cinnamon Bidwell, Ph.D., from Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues randomly assigned half of the smoking participants to overnight tobacco abstinence. At baseline, participants (aged 13 to 19 years; 74 daily smokers and 22 nonsmokers) completed questionnaires and laboratory assessments. Laboratory assessments were repeated upon return, one to four days later.

The researchers found that abstinent smokers reported significantly greater increases in withdrawal symptoms, smoking urges, and negative affect compared with smokers who did not abstain and nonsmokers. Abstinence resulted in significantly increased peak provoked urges and negative affect, although abstinence did not have a significant effect on differential reactivity to smoking versus neutral cues.

"Our results suggest that adolescents experience increases in withdrawal symptoms, smoking urges (un-cued and peak provoked), and negative affect (un-cued and peak provoked) after acute smoking abstinence, but do not experience the increases in reactive irritability or decreases in positive affect that have been shown in adult smokers," the authors write.

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