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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Combined Smoking Cues Enhance Reactivity and Predict Immediate Subsequent Smoking.

Thursday, February 8, 2018  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Cynthia A Conklin, F Joseph McClernon, Elizabeth J Vella, Christopher J Joyce, Ronald P Salkeld, Craig S Parzynski, Lee Bennett.
Combined Smoking Cues Enhance Reactivity and Predict Immediate Subsequent Smoking.
Nicotine & Tobacco Research, nty009,

Cue reactivity (CR) research has reliably demonstrated robust cue-induced responding among smokers exposed to common proximal smoking cues (e.g., cigarettes, lighter). More recent work demonstrates that distal stimuli, most notably the actual environments in which smoking previously occurred, can also gain associative control over craving. In the real world proximal cues always occur within an environment; thus, a more informative test of how cues affect smokers might be to present these two cue types simultaneously. Using a combined-cue counterbalanced cue reactivity paradigm, the present study tested the impact of proximal (smoking and neutral) + personal environment (smoking and nonsmoking places) pictorial cues, on smokers’ subjective and behavioral cue reactivity; as well as the extent to which cue-induced craving predicts immediate subsequent smoking in a within-subjects design. As anticipated, the dual smoking cue combination (ProxS+EnvS) led to the greatest cue-induced craving relative to the other three cue combinations (ProxS+EnvN, ProxN+EnvS, ProxN+-EnvN), p’s < .004. Dual smoking cues also led to significantly shorter post-trial latencies to smoke, p’s < .01. Overall cue reactivity difference score (post-trial craving minus baseline craving) was predictive of subsequent immediate smoking indexed by: Post-trial latency to smoke (B= -2.69, SE= 9.02; t(143) = -2.98, p = .003); total puff volume (B= 2.99, SE= 1.13; t(143)= 2.65, p = .009); and total number of puffs (B= .053, SE= .027; t(143)= 1.95, p = .05). The implications of these findings for better understanding the impact of cues on smoking behavior and cessation are discussed. This novel cue reactivity study examined smokers' reactivity to combined proximal and distal smoking cues. Exposure to a combination of two smoking cues (proximal and environment) led to the greatest increases in cue-induced craving and smoking behavior compared to all other cue combinations. Further, the overall magnitude of cue-induced craving was found to significantly predict immediate subsequent smoking. This work provides new insight on how exposure to various cues and cue combinations directly affect smokers’ craving and actual smoking behavior, as well as the relationship between those two indices of reactivity.

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