Pain intensity, e-cigarette dependence, and cessation-related outcomes: The moderating role of pain-related anxiety

Jessica M. Powers, Lisa R. LaRowe, Lorra Garey, Michael J. Zvolensky, Joseph W. Ditre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Pain and nicotine dependence are prevalent, co-occurring conditions posited to interact in the manner of a positive feedback loop; however, most research to date has been conducted among tobacco cigarette smokers. Initial evidence suggests that pain is a risk factor for greater e-cigarette dependence, and additional research is needed to examine covariation between pain and e-cigarette use. There is reason to suspect that pain-related anxiety (i.e., the tendency to respond to pain with anxiety or fear) may be associated with greater e-cigarette dependence and difficulty quitting, and that pain intensity and pain-related anxiety may interact to confer greater risk for e-cigarette use. The current study represents the first examination of cross-sectional associations between pain intensity, pain-related anxiety, and e-cigarette dependence, motivation to quit, history of lifetime e-cigarette quit attempts, perceived barriers to cessation, and negative expectancies during abstinence from e-cigarettes. Participants (N = 520 e-cigarette users, 52.1% female, Mage = 34.85) completed an online survey assessing health behaviors. Results indicated that pain-related anxiety was positively associated with e-cigarette dependence and perceived barriers to cessation (ps < 0.05). Pain-related anxiety was found to moderate relations between pain intensity and primary outcomes, such that pain intensity was positively associated with motivation to quit, likelihood of past failed quit attempt, and negative abstinence expectancies among participants who endorsed high (but not moderate or low) levels of pain-related anxiety. Future research would benefit from examining prospective associations between pain-related anxiety, pain intensity, and e-cigarette use/cessation trajectories among individuals with chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106548
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Dual users
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Nicotine
  • Pain
  • Pain-related anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Pain intensity, e-cigarette dependence, and cessation-related outcomes: The moderating role of pain-related anxiety'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this