Cigarette withdrawal symptoms in adolescent smokers

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1986;90(4):533-6. doi: 10.1007/BF00174074.


One hundred and sixteen female adolescent smokers were asked about withdrawal symptoms experienced during past attempts to give up smoking for good. Sixty-three percent reported difficulties during abstinence of the kind experienced by adult smokers. Daily smokers were more likely to report withdrawal effects than non-daily smokers (74% versus 47%, P less than 0.005). Reported experience of withdrawal symptoms was positively related to self-reports of cigarette consumption and depth of inhalation and nicotine intake as indexed by salivary cotinine concentrations. Reported occurrence of at least one withdrawal effect correlated positively with nicotine intake after controlling for behavioural variables. Our results indicate that teenage smokers are likely to suffer withdrawal symptoms when they try to give up. Behavioural factors and expectations based on observations of adults may have played a part in their experience of withdrawal, but it is also likely that pharmacological factors are implicated even at this early stage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cotinine / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Probability
  • Regression Analysis
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / etiology*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / metabolism
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology*


  • Cotinine