To compare perceived reasons for continued smoking and withdrawal symptoms between current smokers and quitters in an inner-city adolescent population. To examine the relationship of nicotine dependence, stress, and coping methods between smokers and quitters and, using the Transtheoretical Model of Change, among adjacent smoking cessation stages.
A cross-sectional study using a self-administered questionnaire.
The study comprised 354 clinic patients between the ages of 12 and 21 years who reported past or present smoking.
Main Outcome Measures
Demographic characteristics, smoking status, perceived reasons for continued smoking, attempts to quit, and withdrawal symptoms, as well as standardized scales assessing nicotine dependence, stress, and coping methods.
The overall prevalence of smoking in this population was 26%. Smokers were significantly more likely to report smoking more cigarettes per day as well as higher levels of physical addiction (P<.01), greater levels of perceived stress (P<.02), and less use of cognitive coping methods (P<.02) than quitters (P<.005). However, comparison of consecutive stages revealed a significant difference only between precontemplation and contemplation in cognitive coping methods (P<.01). Three of 20 withdrawal symptoms (cravings, difficulty dealing with stress, and anger) were reported more frequently among current smokers who had attempted to quit in the last 6 months than among former smokers (P<.01).
Interventions for inner-city adolescents who smoke should be designed to target those with the highest levels of nicotine dependence, stress, and decreased use of cognitive coping methods because they are the least likely to quit on their own, rather than developing stage-specific models.