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Prospective Evaluation of Factors Predicting Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms Among Korean Americans

  • Sun S Kim (a1), Hua Fang (a2), Sherry A. McKee (a3) and Douglas Ziedonis (a1)


Introduction: This study examined factors predicting nicotine withdrawal symptoms following quitting among Korean American smokers who were receiving counseling and nicotine replacement therapy.

Methods: The sample comprised 90 Korean American smokers selected from a two-arm randomised controlled trial of a smoking cessation intervention (culturally adapted versus treatment as usual). Nicotine withdrawal symptoms were assessed weekly for the first four weeks from the target quit day, using the Minnesota Nicotine Withdrawal Scale (MNWS). Only those who participated in two or more weekly assessments of the symptoms were included.

Results: Among the nine withdrawal symptoms listed in the MNWS, craving and disturbed sleep decreased over time whereas the remaining symptoms had no significant effect of time. Women or individuals who perceived greater risks of quitting smoking reported more withdrawal symptoms after controlling for abstinence status. Although withdrawal symptoms did not change, on average, with time, the rates of change varied randomly across individuals. Women reported more withdrawal symptoms in the first week after quitting and showed a higher rate of decline of the symptoms over time than men.

Conclusions: Korean American smokers who are women or who perceive greater risks of quitting smoking may require more intensive treatment to effectively deal with post-quit withdrawal symptoms.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Sun Kim, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 365 Plantation Street, Suite 100, Worcester, MA 01605. Email:


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