The latency to the onset of nicotine withdrawal: a test of the sensitization-homeostasis theory

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Publication Date


Document Type



Adolescent; Cross-Sectional Studies; Female; Humans; Male; Nicotine; Nicotinic Agonists; Questionnaires; Schools; Smoking; Substance Withdrawal Syndrome; Time Factors; Young Adult


Community Health | Preventive Medicine


The latency to withdrawal (LTW) is the expired time between the last cigarette and when the smoker feels the need to smoke again. The sensitization-homeostasis theory predicts that the LTW is inversely related to the frequency and duration of smoking such that more frequent cigarette consumption and a longer history of tobacco use will be associated with a shorter LTW. An anonymous cross-sectional survey of 1055 10th and 11th grade students of mixed ethnicity was conducted in two schools using self-completed questionnaires. Participants were asked "After you have smoked a cigarette, how long can you go before you feel you need to smoke again?" Of 162 current smokers, 73.5% reported a regular need to smoke and a LTW. Reported values for the LTW ranged from .05 h to "3 weeks or more." Monthly cigarette consumption ranged from 1 to 895. The LTW correlated inversely with monthly cigarette consumption (Kendall's tau b=-.53, P

DOI of Published Version



Addict Behav. 2008 Sep;33(9):1148-53. Epub 2008 May 8. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Addictive behaviors

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID