Panic attack history and smoking topography

Samantha G. Farris, Lily A. Brown, Renee D. Goodwin, Michael J. Zvolensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Background Little is known about panic attacks and puffing topography, a behavioral index of the value of smoking reinforcement. This study examined smoking style during the course of smoking of a single cigarette among adult daily smokers with and without a history of panic attacks. Method Participants (n = 124, Mage = 43.9, SD = 9.7; 44.4% female) were non-treatment seeking daily smokers. Lifetime panic attack history was assessed via diagnostic assessment; 28.2% (n = 35) of the sample had a panic attack history. Participants smoked one cigarette during an ad libitum smoking trial. Puff volume, duration, and inter-puff interval were measured using the Clinical Research Support System (CReSS) pocket device. Results Regression analyses revealed that panic attack status was not associated with significant differences in average puff volume, duration, or inter-puff interval. Multi-level modeling was used to examine puffing trajectories. Puff-level data revealed that there was a significant quadratic time x panic effect for puff volume and duration. Those with a panic attack history demonstrated relatively sustained levels of both puff volume and duration over time, whereas those without a history of panic attacks demonstrated an increase followed by a decrease in volume and duration over time. These effects were not accounted for by the presence of general psychopathology. Discussion Smokers with a panic attack history demonstrate more persistent efforts to self-regulate the delivery of nicotine, and thus may be at risk for continued smoking and dependence. Tailored treatment may be needed to address unique vulnerabilities among this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-90
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Puff topography
  • Smoking motivation

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