Acute Impact of the September 11 Tragedy on Smoking and Early Relapse Rates Among Smokers Attempting to Quit

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The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States had widespread behavioral and emotional impacts. At the time of the terrorist attacks, 462 smokers from the Washington, DC, area had been entered into a study comparing scheduled versus ad lib dosing regimens for nicotine inhalers. Mean smoking rates the week following September 11 were only slightly higher than mean smoking rates the week prior to September 11. Increases in smoking rates following the terrorist attacks, however, were significantly associated with scores on the Impact of Events Scale—Revised (Pearson's r = .25, p < .01). Although the terrorist attacks were associated with acute increases in smoking and early relapse rates, the effect was relatively small and modestly associated with retrospective reports of the event's emotional impact.

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