Tobacco withdrawal amongst african american, hispanic, and white smokers

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Persistent tobacco use among racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States is a critical public health concern. Yet, potential sources of racial/ethnic disparities in tobacco use remain unclear. The present study examined racial/ethnic differences in tobacco withdrawal-a clinically-relevant underpinning of tobacco use that has received sparse attention in the disparities literature-utilizing a controlled laboratory design. Methods: Daily smokers (non-Hispanic African American [n = 178], non-Hispanic white [n = 118], and Hispanic [n = 28]) attended two counterbalanced sessions (non-abstinent vs. 16-hour abstinent). At both sessions, self-report measures of urge, nicotine withdrawal, and affect were administered and performance on an objective behavioral task that assessed motivation to reinstate smoking was recorded. Abstinence-induced changes (abstinent scores vs. non-abstinent scores) were analyzed as a function of race/ethnicity. Results: Non-Hispanic African American smokers reported greater abstinence-induced declines in several positive affect states in comparison to other racial/ethnic groups. Relative to Hispanic smokers, non-Hispanic African American and non-Hispanic white smokers displayed larger abstinence-provoked increases in urges to smoke. No racial/ethnic differences were detected for a composite measure of nicotine withdrawal symptomatology, negative affect states, and motivation to reinstate smoking behavior. Conclusions: These results suggest qualitative differences in the expression of some components of tobacco withdrawal across three racial/ethnic groups. This research helps shed light on biobehavioral sources of tobacco-related health disparities, informs the application of smoking cessation interventions across racial/ethnic groups, and may ultimately aid the overall effort towards reducing the public health burden of tobacco addiction in minority populations. Implications: The current study provides some initial evidence that there may be qualitative differences in the types of tobacco withdrawal symptoms experienced among non-Hispanic African American, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white smokers. Extending this line of inquiry may elucidate mechanisms involved in tobacco-related health disparities and ultimately aid in reducing the public health burden of smoking in racial/ethnic minority populations.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bello MS; Pang RD; Cropsey KL; Zvolensky MJ; Reitzel LR; Huh J; Leventhal AM
  • Start Page

  • 1479
  • End Page

  • 1487
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 6