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

November 14, 2012 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."

Explore further: Stopping smoking is hard despite success of smoke-free legislation

Related Stories

Stopping smoking is hard despite success of smoke-free legislation

April 20, 2012
The successful implementation of smokefree legislation in Hong Kong has led to an overall decrease in the total number of smokers but the remaining smokers who are finding it difficult to quit are going on to become "hardcore" ...

Researchers find why nicotine in cigarettes may relieve anxiety in smokers

November 8, 2012
Preclinical data suggests inactivation of a specific sub-class of nicotinic receptors may be an effective strategy to help smokers quit without feeling anxious, according to Virginia Commonwealth University researchers.

Recommended for you

Researchers crack the smile, describing three types by muscle movement

July 27, 2017
The smile may be the most common and flexible expression, used to reveal some emotions, cover others and manage social interactions that have kept communities secure and organized for millennia.

Ketamine for depression encouraging, but questions remain around long-term use

July 27, 2017
A world-first systematic review into the safety of ketamine as a treatment for depression, published in the prestigious Lancet Psychiatry, shows the risks of long-term ketamine treatment remain unclear.

Even babies can tell who's the boss, UW research says

July 27, 2017
The charismatic colleague, the natural leader, the life of the party - all are personal qualities that adults recognize instinctively. These socially dominant types, according to repeated studies, also tend to accomplish ...

DREAMers at greater risk for mental health distress

July 27, 2017
Immigrants who came to the United States illegally as small children and who meet the requirements of the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, more commonly known as DREAMers, are at risk for mental health ...

Negativity, be gone—new online tool can retrain your brain

July 27, 2017
Anxiety and depression can have devastating effects on people's lives. In some cases, the mental disorders lead to isolation, poverty and poor physical health, things that often cascade to future generations.

Research aims to shape more precise treatments for depression in women

July 27, 2017
Among women in the United States, depression is at epidemic levels: Approximately 12 million women in the U.S. experience clinical depression each year, and more than 12 percent of women can expect to experience depression ...

0 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.