Posttraumatic stress symptoms and smoking among World Trade Center disaster responders: A longitudinal investigation
PURPOSE: The current longitudinal study examined posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity in relation to smoking abstinence and reduction over time among responders to the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster. METHOD: Participants were 763 police and 1881 non-traditional (e.g., construction workers) WTC responders who reported being smokers at an initial examination obtained between July 2002 and July 2011 at the WTC Health Program (WTC-HP). WTC responders were reassessed, on average, 2.5years later. RESULTS: For police WTC responders, higher levels of WTC-related PTSD symptoms at the initial visit were associated with a decreased likelihood of smoking abstinence (OR=0.98, p=.002) and with decreased smoking reduction (beta=-.06, p=.012) at the follow-up visit. WTC-related PTSD symptom severity was not related to likelihood of smoking abstinence or change in number of cigarettes smoked among non-traditional responders. Post hoc analyses suggested that for police, hyperarousal PTSD symptoms were predictive of decreased abstinence likelihood at the follow-up visit (OR=0.56, p=.006). DISCUSSION: The present findings suggest that PTSD symptoms may be differentially related to smoking behavior among police and non-traditional WTC responders in a naturalistic, longitudinal investigation. Future work may benefit from exploring further which aspects of PTSD (as compared to each other and to common variance) explain smoking maintenance.
School of Medicine
Occupational Medicine, Epidemiology and Prevention