Early smoking onset may promise initial pleasurable sensations and later addiction

Addiction Biology (Impact Factor: 5.36). 10/2011; 18(6). DOI: 10.1111/j.1369-1600.2011.00377.x


There is converging evidence suggesting a particular susceptibility to the addictive properties of nicotine among adolescents. The aim of the current study was to prospectively ascertain the relationship between age at first cigarette and initial smoking experiences, and to examine the combined effects of these characteristics of adolescent smoking behavior on adult smoking. It was hypothesized that the association between earlier age at first cigarette and later development of nicotine dependence may, at least in part, be attributable to differences in experiencing pleasurable early smoking sensations. Data were drawn from the participants of the Mannheim Study of Children at Risk, an ongoing epidemiological cohort study from birth to adulthood. Structured interviews at age 15, 19 and 22 years were conducted to assess the age at first cigarette, early smoking experiences and current smoking behavior in 213 young adults. In addition, the participants completed the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence. Adolescents who smoked their first cigarette at an earlier age reported more pleasurable sensations from the cigarette, and they were more likely to be regular smokers at age 22. The age at first cigarette also predicted the number of cigarettes smoked and dependence at age 22. Thus, both the age of first cigarette and the pleasure experienced from the cigarette independently predicted aspects of smoking at age 22.

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    • "Indeed adolescent rats exhibit enhanced sensitivity to nicotine reward across many paradigms by comparison to adults (e.g., Adriani, Macri, Pacifici, & Laviola, 2002; Shram & Le, 2010), as well as a reduced sensitivity to nicotine's aversive effects (Shram, Funk, Li, & Le, 2006). In humans, earlier initial smoking experiences have also been associated with a more pleasant experience and an increased probability of recurrent use (Buchmann et al., 2011). A second adolescent‐specific vulnerability that may help explain the increased uptake of cigarette smoking during this developmental period upon nicotine exposure is the normative tendency of adolescents to approach potential rewards without sufficient consideration of the consequences. "

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    • "For example, studies have demonstrated that adolescents who begin their first regular use of alcohol at ages 11–14 have a significantly heightened risk for later progression to an alcohol disorder (Grant and Dawson, 1997; Grant et al., 2001; Hingson et al., 2006a,b). Other research has shown that early adolescent cigarette smoking initiation increases the risk of future nicotine dependence substantially (Buchmann et al., 2011; Johnson and Novak, 2009; Kendler et al., 2013; Morrell et al., 2011; Westling et al., 2012). There is also evidence that early marijuana use increases the risk for a cannabis use disorder (Ehlers et al., 2007; Gillespie et al., 2009; Perez et al., 2010; Swift et al., 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Alcohol, tobacco and marijuana are the most commonly used drugs by adolescents in the U.S. However, little is known about the patterning of early adolescent substance use, and its implications for problematic involvement with substances in young adulthood. We examined patterns of substance use prior to age 16, and their associations with young adult substance use behaviors and substance use disorders in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents. Using data from Wave 4 of the Add Health Survey (n=4245), we estimated the prevalence of various patterns of early adolescent use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana use individually and in combination. Then we examined the effects of patterns of early use of these substances on subsequent young adult substance use behaviors and DSM-IV substance use disorders. While 34.4% of individuals reported no substance use prior to age 16, 34.1% reported either early use of both alcohol and marijuana or alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes, indicating the relatively high prevalence of this type of polysubstance use behavior among U.S. adolescents. Early adolescent use of all three substances was most strongly associated with a spectrum of young adult substance use problems, as well as DSM-IV substance use disorder diagnoses. This research confirms the elevated prevalence and importance of polysubstance use behavior among adolescents prior to age 16, and puts early onset of alcohol, marijuana and cigarette use into the context of use patterns rather than single drug exposures.
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    ABSTRACT: Individuals vary in their initial reactions to drugs of abuse in ways that may contribute to the likelihood of subsequent drug use. In humans, most drugs of abuse produce positive subjective states such as euphoria and feelings of well-being, which may facilitate repeated use. In nonhumans, many drugs initially increase locomotor activity and produce discriminative stimulus effects, both of which have been considered to be models of human stimulant and subjective states. Both humans and nonhumans vary in their sensitivity to early acute drug effects in ways that may predict future use or self-administration, and some of these variations appear to be genetic in origin. However, it is not known exactly how the initial responses to drugs in either humans or nonhumans relate to subsequent use or abuse. In humans, positive effects of drugs facilitate continued use of a drug while negative effects discourage use, and in nonhumans, greater genetic risk for drug intake is predicted by reduced sensitivity to drug aversive effects; but whether these initial responses affect escalation of drug use, and the development of dependence is currently unknown. Although early use of a drug is a necessary step in the progression to abuse and dependence, other variables may be of greater importance in the transition from use to abuse. Alternatively, the same variables that predict initial acute drug effects and early use may significantly contribute to continued use, escalation and dependence. Here we review the existing evidence for relations between initial direct drug effects, early use, and continued use. Ultimately, these relations can only be determined from systematic longitudinal studies with comprehensive assessments from early drug responses to progression of problem drug use. In parallel, additional investigation of initial responses in animal models as predictors of drug use will shed light on the underlying mechanisms.
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