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Reaction to First Cigarette Is Predictive

smokingResearchers have long wondered why some adolescents who try smoking become addicted while others do not.

A new study suggests the impact of nicotine, more than individual personality is the key factor toward addiction.

“We know that nicotine can have an immediate impact on the brain, and yet we also know that not every adolescent who tries a cigarette gets hooked,” said the study’s lead author, Joseph R. DiFranza, MD, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

“We wanted to know what accounts for the difference in vulnerability among adolescents who pick up that first cigarette.”

While personality factors often determine which young people will try smoking, it appears that it is the manner in which the brain reacts to nicotine, rather than personality, that is most important to determining whether an adolescent will become hooked on nicotine once he or she has tried it.

“It appears that it is an addictive physiology and not an addictive personality that determines who will become dependent,” observed Dr. DiFranza.

The four-year prospective study was based on over 12,000 interviews with 1,246 sixth-graders in public schools in six Massachusetts communities.

Researchers assessed 46 risk factors in categories such as personality, attitudes and beliefs about smoking, smoking by parents, siblings and peers, family and community involvement, and reactions to inhaling from a cigarette for the first time.

When all factors were considered together, an experience of relaxation in response to the first dose of nicotine was the strongest predictor of future addiction.

Other factors that predicted addiction were familiarity with the cigarette advertising character Joe Camel, a novelty-seeking personality, and a depressed mood.

“These findings underscore our belief that the development of dependence is triggered by the changes in brain chemistry that follow the very first dose of nicotine,” said DiFranza.

Source: University of Massachusetts Medical School

Reaction to First Cigarette Is Predictive

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Reaction to First Cigarette Is Predictive. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/10/01/reaction-to-first-cigarette-is-predictive/1348.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.