PTSD Predicts Smoking Cessation Failure in a Trauma-Exposed Population

Julciney Trindade Fortes, Fabiola Giordani Cano, Verônica Alcoforado Miranda, Hye Chung Kang, Leonardo F. Fontenelle, Mauro Vitor Mendlowicz, Maria Luiza Garcia-Rosa

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate whether a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; full or partial) or specific PTSD symptom clusters predicted failure in quitting smoking in a trauma-exposed population. Methods: Participants were 310 smokers who attempted quitting smoking, either successfully (quitters, n = 213) or not (relapsers, n = 97), who lived in slums and were attending a family doctor program. Measurements included a general questionnaire covering sociodemographic characteristics, clinical status and life habits, and the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist–Civilian Version. Differences in sociodemographic, clinical and lifestyle characteristics between quitters and relapsers were compared using a chi-square test. Because of the small sample size, full and partial PTSD were collapsed into a single category. Results: Significant differences (p ≤.15) between quitters and relapsers were found in age, body mass index (BMI), income, alcohol consumption, and in the presence of full/partial PTSD diagnosis and of all three symptom clusters separately. Four logistic regression models predicting smoking cessation were modeled to control for confounding factors and included as independent variables a full/partial PTSD diagnosis and the three posttraumatic symptom clusters. The avoidance/numbing cluster presented the strongest association with relapse status (ORa 2.04, 95% CI [1.15, 3.63], p =.015), followed by the full/partial PTSD (ORa 1.80, 95% CI [1.04, 3.14], p =.038). The re-experiencing and the hyperarousal clusters were non-significantly associated with smoking cessation (ORa 1.34, 95% CI [0.80, 2.31], ns and ORa 1.65, 95% CI [0.96, 2.84], ns, respectively). Conclusions: Full/partial PTSD and posttraumatic symptom clusters uniquely predict risk for smoking relapse and thus may be a useful therapeutic target in trauma-exposed smokers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-401
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Dual Diagnosis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • alcohol use disorders
  • cigarette smoking
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • PTSD
  • slums
  • smoking cessation

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