Early emerging nicotine dependence symptoms in adolescence predict daily smoking in young adulthood.

Research paper by Lisa L Dierker, Donald D Hedeker, Jennifer J Rose, Arielle A Selya, Robin R Mermelstein

Indexed on: 05 Apr '15Published on: 05 Apr '15Published in: Drug and Alcohol Dependence


The present study evaluated the predictive validity of individual early emerging nicotine dependence symptoms in adolescence on smoking behavior in young adulthood.A total of 492 adolescents who, at baseline, had not smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and 123 adolescents who smoked more than 100 cigarettes lifetime, and who participated in the 6-year follow-up assessment were included in the present analyses. Predictive validity of 10 nicotine dependence items administered at baseline was evaluated at the 6 year follow-up when the sample had entered young adulthood (mean age=21.6).Among adolescents who had smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes, experiencing higher levels of overall nicotine dependence as well as individual symptoms at baseline longitudinally predicted an increase in risk for daily smoking in young adulthood, after controlling for baseline smoking and other tobacco use. For adolescents who had smoked more than 100 cigarettes at baseline, level of nicotine dependence and individual symptom endorsement did not predict smoking behavior in young adulthood.These findings add to accumulating evidence that early emerging dependence symptoms reported at low levels of smoking exposure signal a greater propensity for continued smoking behavior. Screening for these early emerging symptoms among novice adolescent smokers represents an important and unused tool in tobacco control efforts aimed at preventing the development of chronic smoking patterns.