The role of impulsivity on smoking maintenance

Joseph W. VanderVeen, Lee M. Cohen, Kelly C. Cukrowicz, David R.M. Trotter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


In order to better understand why those higher in impulsivity experience more difficulties during smoking abstinence, the current study examined the possible mechanisms contributing to cigarette smoking relapse. Fifty dependent cigarette smokers completed measures designed to assess craving, tobacco withdrawal severity, and negative affect during 48 hours of nicotine abstinence. Using a series of multilevel models (SAS Proc Mixed Procedure), significant impulsivity × time analyses revealed differences in craving, F(2, 96) = 3.74, p <.05, and anxiety, F(2, 96) = 3.23, p <.05. Simple slopes analyses indicated that heightened trait-impulsivity predicted greater increases in craving and anxiety during a 48-hour abstinence period. These findings suggest that smokers with higher levels of impulsivity may lack the ability to find an accessible and comparable substitute for cigarette smoking during a cessation attempt. This study also highlights the importance of considering individual differences when treating those who wish to quit smoking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1397-1404
Number of pages8
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008


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