Multiple cross-sectional studies have linked adverse childhood events and adult adversities to current smoking, lifetime smoking, and former smoking. To date, however, there have been no direct observational studies assessing the influence of adversities on smoking relapse. We prospectively followed 123 participants, 86 of whom were habitual smokers, from pre-quit ad libitum smoking to four weeks post-quit. Thirty-seven non-smokers were also tested in parallel as a comparison group. Subjects provided biological samples for confirmation of abstinence status and self-report history of adversities such as abuse, neglect, family dysfunction, incarceration, and child-parent separation. They also completed mood and smoking withdrawal symptom measures. The results indicated that within non-smokers and smokers who relapsed within the first month of a quit attempt, but not abstainers, females had significantly higher adversity scores than males. Cigarette craving, which was independent from depressive affect, increased for low adversity participants, but not those with no adversity nor high adversity. These results demonstrate that sex and relapse status interact to predict adversity and that craving for nicotine may be an important additional mediator of relapse. These results add further support to the previous cross-sectional evidence of an adversity and smoking relationship. Further studies to clarify how adversity complicates smoking cessation and impacts smoking behaviors are warranted.
- Adverse childhood events