Reactions to withdrawal symptoms and success in smoking cessation clinics

Addict Behav. 1986;11(1):49-53. doi: 10.1016/0306-4603(86)90008-0.


This study reports on 285 smokers in cessation clinics who answered self-report measures of withdrawal symptoms and craving after quitting cigarettes "cold turkey." Almost all the subjects reported discomfort after stopping, but no particular symptom pattern emerged. Women reporting intense withdrawal symptoms and craving were less likely to remain stopped by the clinic's end. Although men were generally heavier smokers and reported as many symptoms as women, withdrawal distress was not related to their clinic outcomes. This sex difference may be explained by cultural learning which teaches men to be stoic in bearing discomfort and women to avoid small doses to pain.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Smoking*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / diagnosis*