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Nicotine Tob Res. 2009 Feb;11(2):185-9. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntn028. Epub 2009 Feb 25.

Withdrawal in adolescent light smokers following 24-hour abstinence.

Author information

1
Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of California-San Francisco, 3333 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA. rubinsteinm@peds.ucsf.edu

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Withdrawal is one of the most important symptoms of nicotine addiction. We examined the extent to which adolescent light smokers experienced withdrawal symptoms when deprived of nicotine for a 24-hr period.

METHODS:

A total of 20 adolescents aged 13-17 years who smoked 1-5 cigarettes/day (CPD) refrained from smoking for a 24-hr period. Withdrawal scales were administered, and heart rate was measured at baseline, 12, and 24 hr. Neuropsychological testing was performed at baseline and 24 hr. Participants were divided into two groups: very light smokers (1-3 CPD) and light smokers (4-5 CPD).

RESULTS:

At 12 hr, very light smokers experienced a decrease in withdrawal symptoms versus light smokers, who reported an increase in symptoms (-2.9 vs. 2.8, p = .02). Similarly, at 24 hr, very light smokers experienced a mean decrease in withdrawal score compared with a mean increase for the light smoker group (-2.2 vs. 5.8, p = .04). We did not find a significant change in heart rate or any differences in participants' scores on the memory or concentration tasks.

DISCUSSION:

Based on our findings in this controlled laboratory experiment, adolescent very light smokers did not appear to have significant withdrawal symptoms following abstinence from nicotine. Adolescent light smokers who smoke 4-5 CPD experienced subjective withdrawal symptoms but did not have objective signs of nicotine withdrawal. The stage of smoking in which adolescents are smoking 5 CPD or fewer appears to be a crucial time for studying development of nicotine addiction in teens as they may be transitioning from social smoking to early addiction.

PMID:
19246428
PMCID:
PMC2658900
DOI:
10.1093/ntr/ntn028
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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