Kicking the habit—New research examines the barriers to quitting smoking for smokers with asthma

by Dawn Fuller
Kicking the habit -- New research examines the barriers to quitting smoking for smokers with asthma

(Medical Xpress)—A new University of Cincinnati study examines how anxiety sensitivity can thwart the efforts of smokers with asthma to quit smoking. This new direction of research from Alison McLeish, a UC assistant professor of psychology, will be presented on Nov.17, at the 46th annual convention of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) in National Harbor, Md.

Anxiety sensitivity, or AS, refers to a person's chronic fear of anxiety-related symptoms – the belief that experiences such as sweaty palms, shallow breathing, headache or could bring on something much worse, either physically, mentally or socially.

McLeish's study of 125 smokers with asthma found that anxiety sensitivity was a significant factor in impeding the smokers' efforts to quit smoking, even though the participants with higher anxiety sensitivity were more likely to report that they wanted to quit because of the associated with asthma and smoking. Participants with high anxiety sensitivity were also more likely to report self-control as motivations for quitting.

"If people are smoking to cope with anxiety, which is often what smokers do, can temporarily increase their anxiety, which will give people high in anxiety sensitivity the exact symptoms they're afraid of," explains McLeish. "Since anxiety is more common among individuals with asthma, this could explain why smokers with asthma have a harder time quitting smoking.

"This also shows that in addition to the barriers to cessation, smokers with asthma and high sensitivity wanted to quit for their own well-being and to show that they could do it," says McLeish.

McLeish says the study suggests that smokers with asthma who have high may need specialized intervention efforts to overcome their perceived barriers to quitting smoking – interventions targeted toward their health concerns and building their .

Participants in the study were 125 smokers with asthma, 46 percent female, with an average age of around 37. They reported being regular smokers for an average of 20.6 years and smoked about a pack of cigarettes per day. Of those who participated in the study, 54.5 percent were African-American, 41.5 were Caucasian; 1.6 percent were Asian and 2.4 percent reported "other."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Common anxiety disorders make it tougher to quit cigarettes

Oct 25, 2010

Researchers may have pinpointed a reason many smokers struggle to quit. According to new research published in the journal Addiction, smokers with a history of anxiety disorders are less likely to quit smoking. The study, ...

Quitting smoking especially difficult for select groups

Feb 12, 2010

With the national trend toward quitting smoking flat, psychologists are finding some success with treatments aimed at helping smokers from underserved groups, including racial and ethnic minorities and those with psychiatric ...

Research explores link between asthma and smoking

Mar 30, 2011

New research out of the University of Cincinnati suggests that being diagnosed with asthma is significantly associated with a greater risk for a lifetime history of daily smoking and nicotine dependence. The findings are ...

Recommended for you

Declining loneliness among American teenagers

10 hours ago

There has been a growing concern that modern society is increasingly lonely. In 2006, a New York Times article "The Lonely American Just Got a Bit Lonelier" highlighted research that shows a decline in soc ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.