Tobacco withdrawal symptoms and urges to smoke in pregnant versus non-pregnant smokers



Ussher M, Etter J, Giatras N & Coleman T (2012) Tobacco withdrawal symptoms and urges to smoke in pregnant versus non-pregnant smokers. Addictive Behaviors, 37 (12), pp. 1353-1357.

We compared tobacco withdrawal in pregnant and non-pregnant smokers abstaining from smoking for 24. h. Female smokers completed an internet-based questionnaire, including the Minnesota Nicotine Withdrawal Scale-Revised (MNWS). They also rated additional withdrawal items and strength of urge to smoke. Consenting women were randomized to either: (i) abstain from smoking for 24. h or (ii) smoke as usual. After 24. h they rated their withdrawal again. We included a 'smoking as usual' group as we wished to establish that smoking abstinence increased withdrawal symptoms. Two-hundred and seventy-five women completed both the initial and the 24. h questionnaire and reported abstaining (n. =. 115, 17% pregnant) or smoking (n. =. 160, 21% pregnant) as requested. Exclusively among abstinent smokers, we compared symptoms for the pregnant and non-pregnant groups. After 24. h pregnant women had significantly lower scores than non-pregnant women for the mean MNWS (p. =. 0.004) and for three individual MNWS symptoms (angry, p. =. 0.010; anxious, p. =. 0.048; impatient, p. =. 0.011), with adjustments for baseline cigarette consumption and baseline withdrawal scores. Overall, on the first day of smoking abstinence, pregnant women are likely to report less severe tobacco withdrawal than non-pregnant women.

Smoking cessation; Pregnancy; Withdrawal symptoms; Cravings

Addictive Behaviors: Volume 37, Issue 12

FundersUK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies
Publication date31/12/2012
Publication date online23/07/2012

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Professor Michael Ussher

Professor Michael Ussher

Professor of Behavioural Medicine, Institute for Social Marketing