Chronic Pain Status, Nicotine Withdrawal, and Expectancies for Smoking Cessation Among Lighter Smokers

Joseph W. Ditre, Jesse D. Kosiba, Emily L. Zale, Michael J. Zvolensky, Stephen A. Maisto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Background: Chronic pain and tobacco smoking are both highly prevalent and comorbid conditions, and chronic pain may pose a barrier to smoking cessation. Purpose: The objective of this study was to test associations between chronic pain status and several smoking-related factors that have previously been shown to predict cessation outcomes. Method: Daily smokers (N = 205) were recruited from the general population to complete an online survey of pain and tobacco smoking. Results: Results indicated that smokers with chronic pain (vs. no chronic pain) consumed more cigarettes per day, scored higher on an established measure of tobacco dependence, reported having less confidence in their ability to quit, and endorsed expectations for experiencing greater difficulty and more severe nicotine withdrawal during future cessation attempts. Mediation analyses further indicated that the inverse association between chronic pain and abstinence self-efficacy was indirectly influenced by past cessation failures. Conclusions: These findings suggest that individuals with chronic pain may constitute an important subgroup of tobacco smokers who tend to experience lower confidence and greater difficulty when attempting to quit. Future research would benefit from replicating these findings among older and more diverse samples of heavier tobacco smokers, and extending this work to the study of prospective relations between chronic pain status and cessation-relevant processes/outcomes over the course of a quit attempt.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-435
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Cessation
  • Chronic pain
  • Expectancies
  • Pain
  • Tobacco
  • Withdrawal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Chronic Pain Status, Nicotine Withdrawal, and Expectancies for Smoking Cessation Among Lighter Smokers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this