Where Is the Pleasure in That? Low Hedonic Capacity Predicts Smoking Onset and Escalation
ABSTRACT Hedonic capacity is a dispositional ability to experience pleasure in response to stimuli that are typically rewarding. The ability to derive pleasure from natural reinforcers has been relatively overlooked as a risk factor for adolescent smoking. The present study sought to provide initial evidence for a relationship between hedonic capacity and adolescent smoking onset and escalation.
The sample was composed of 1,106 adolescents participating in a prospective longitudinal survey study of adolescent health behaviors. Variables were measured via self-report every 6 months for 4 waves of data spanning 18 months. We hypothesized that adolescents with lower hedonic capacity may be less responsive to natural reinforcers and therefore be prone to take up and rely on smoking as a reinforcer.
A two-part latent growth curve model indicated that adolescents low in hedonic capacity were over two and a half times more likely to have smoked a cigarette in the past month at age 15.5 years (odds ratio = 2.64, 95% CI = 1.08-6.45) and to show a 90% increase (β = 0.9, z = 2.28, p = .02) in the rate of smoking escalation every 6 months across the following 18 months compared with adolescents with high hedonic capacity. Conclusions: This study provides the first evidence implicating hedonic capacity as a risk factor for adolescent smoking initiation and progression. Adolescents low in hedonic capacity may be an important population to target for smoking prevention and smoking cessation efforts possibly through behavioral skills to enhance pleasure derived through natural reinforcers.
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ABSTRACT: Few studies have sought to identify specific genetic markers associated with cigarettes per day (CPD) during adolescence and young adulthood, the period of greatest vulnerability for the development of nicotine dependence. A longitudinal design was used to investigate the effect of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (CHRN) subunit genes on CPD from 15 to 21 years of age in young smokers of European descent (N = 439, 59% female). CPD was self-reported number of CPD typically smoked during the previous 30 days. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from CHRN genes were genotyped using DNA extracted from saliva samples collected at the 5-year assessment. Mixed-model analyses of SNP effects were computed across age at the time of assessment using log-transformed CPD as the phenotype. Data from the 1000 Genomes Project were used to clarify the architecture of CHRN genes to inform SNP selection and interpretation of results. CPD was associated with a CHRNB3A6 region tagged by rs2304297, with CHRNA5A3B4 haplotype C (tagged by rs569207), and with the CHRNA2 SNP rs2271920, ps < .004. The reliability of single-SNP associations was supported by the correspondence between a more extensive set of SNP signals and the underlying genetic architecture. The 3 signals identified in this study appear to make independent contributions to CPD, and their combined effect accounts for 5.5% of the variance in log-transformed CPD. Level of CPD during adolescence and young adulthood is associated with CHRNB3A6, CHRNA5A3B4, and CHRNA2.Nicotine & Tobacco Research 08/2013; 16(2). DOI:10.1093/ntr/ntt125
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ABSTRACT: To characterize a motivational profile of reasons for smoking among teenagers. To investigate the influence of clinical and social elements on observed scores. High school students who smoked in the past month (n = 226; age, 16.4 ± 10 years; 46.5% male) answered a questionnaire during school time. The instrument included the University of São Paulo Reasons for Smoking Scale (USP-RSS), the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence, and clinical and social information. The USP-RSS scores from 307 healthy adult smokers (67.5% male; age, 37.9 ± 11.2 years) were also used for comparisons. Most of the adolescents (90.2%) exhibited low or very low levels of nicotine addiction (median Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence score 0, range 0 to 8). The mean scores of the USP-RSS subscales were as follows: Addiction, 1.9 ± 1.1; Pleasure From Smoking, 3.0 ± 1.3; Tension Reduction, 2.4 ± 1.3; Stimulation, 1.9 ± 0.9; Automatism, 1.3 ± 0.6; Handling, 2.3 ± 1.1; Social Smoking, 1.9 ± 1.0; Weight Control, 1.4 ± 1.0; and Affiliative Attachment, 1.6 ± 0.9. In comparison with adults, teenagers exhibited lower scores for Addiction, Pleasure From Smoking, Tension Reduction, Automatism, Weight Control, and Affiliative Attachment and higher scores for Social Smoking (P < 0.05). Older age, past school failure, illicit drugs use, alcohol abuse, high levels of perceived stress, and the death of at least one parent were associated with high scores for all subscales. The USP-RSS subscales Addiction, Pleasure From Smoking, and Social Smoking were important factors for adolescent smoking. Comparisons with adult smokers stressed the importance of the component of Social Smoking. The identification of distinctive factors that drive teenagers to smoke might help in making decisions dealing with interventions aimed at smoking cessation and control.Journal of Addiction Medicine 10/2013; DOI:10.1097/01.ADM.0000434987.76599.c0
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ABSTRACT: The reasons that some smokers find it harder to quit than others are unclear. Understanding how individual differences predict smoking cessation outcomes may allow the development of more successful personalized treatments for nicotine dependence. Theoretical models suggest that drug users might be characterized by increased sensitivity to drug cues and by reduced sensitivity to nondrug-related natural rewards. We hypothesized that baseline differences in brain sensitivity to natural rewards and cigarette-related cues would predict the outcome of a smoking cessation attempt. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we recorded prequit brain responses to neutral, emotional (pleasant and unpleasant), and cigarette-related cues from 55 smokers interested in quitting. We then assessed smoking abstinence, mood, and nicotine withdrawal symptoms over the course of a smoking cessation attempt. Using cluster analysis, we identified 2 groups of smokers who differed in their baseline responses to pleasant and cigarette-related cues in the posterior visual association areas, the dorsal striatum, and the medial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Smokers who showed lower prequit levels of brain reactivity to pleasant stimuli than to cigarette-related cues were less likely to be abstinent 6 months after their quit attempt, and they had higher levels of negative affect over the course of the quit attempt. Smokers with blunted brain responses to pleasant, relative to cigarette related, stimuli had more difficulty quitting smoking. For these individuals, the lack of alternative forms of reinforcement when nicotine deprived might be an important factor underlying relapse. Normalizing these pathological neuroadaptations may help them achieve abstinence.Nicotine & Tobacco Research 12/2013; 16(6). DOI:10.1093/ntr/ntt214