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Controlled study of withdrawal symptoms in teen smokers

Institution: Stanford University
Investigator(s): Joel Killen, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2003 (Cycle 12) Grant #: 12RT-0141 Award: $499,890
Subject Area: Nicotine Dependence
Award Type: Research Project Awards

Initial Award Abstract
The primary aim of the study is to measure withdrawal symptoms that develop in a sample of adolescent smokers attempting to quit smoking. The study is conducted in two phases over a 6-day period. In Phase 1, (Days 1-3), participants smoke in their normal fashion (target sample N = 150). Expired-air carbon monoxide, which is a measure of tobacco exposure and withdrawal symptoms are measured twice each day (AM/PM) during this period. Urine cotinine, a second measure used to detect exposure to nicotine, is measured once each day during this period. In Phase 2, (Days 4-6), participants attempt to quit smoking. Expired-air carbon monoxide and withdrawal symptoms are measured twice each day (AM/PM) during this period. Urine cotinine, is measured once each day during this period. Gift certificates are provided to all participants who complete the study protocol successfully.

Recruitment began in mid February and is continuing. Adolescent smokers are recruited from local continuation high schools. To date, we have screened a total of 61 adolescent smokers for inclusion in the study protocol. Of this group, 22-adolescent smokers (15 males and 7 females) met eligibility criteria and have completed the study protocol. The ethnic distribution of the current sample is as follows: White: 32%; African American: 14%; Hispanic (Mexican American, Mexican, South American, Other Latino/Hispanic): 27%; Native American: 9%; Asian (Laotian, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese/Japanese American, Chinese/Chinese American): 0%; Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 5%; Multiethnic identification: 13%.

Recruitment of participants will continue through the final year of the study. Data analyses, designed to determine the extent to which adolescent smokers develop withdrawal *symptoms as well as factors that may influence development of withdrawal symptoms will be conducted once recruitment has concluded. This study may have important implications for the prevention and treatment of adolescent smokers in the state of California. Currently, cessation programs for adolescent smokers have not proven to be effective. One obstacle to the development of effective cessation programs is our lack of knowledge about the nature of nicotine dependence in adolescent smokers. Much of our ignorance stems from the fact that almost no studies have been conducted to characterize nicotine dependence in adolescent smokers. Such empirical work is important because adolescent smokers may differ from adult smokers. Studies, such as ours, that examine the ways in which nicotine dependence may influence smoking during adolescence are needed because it may not be sufficient to build effective treatments for adolescent smokers on clinical and research data obtained from studies of adult smokers.