Mar 27, 2003

Role of abstinence and visual cues on food and smoking craving

Behavioural Pharmacology
Karen M AlseneHarriet de Wit


This study was designed to examine the relationship between cravings for food and cravings for cigarettes by presenting smoking-related or food-related visual cues to smokers who were either smoking-deprived or food-deprived. Fifteen regular cigarette smokers participated in this four-session, within-subject study in which they rated their craving for cigarettes and craving for food under four conditions: after abstaining from smoking, after abstaining from eating, after abstaining from both smoking and eating, or after no abstinence. We found that before presentation of the cues, overnight smoking abstinence increased craving for cigarettes, and overnight food abstinence increased craving for food. In each condition, presentation of cues further increased craving for the object of deprivation: smoking cues further increased craving for cigarettes after smoking abstinence, and food cues further increased craving for food after abstaining from food. Smoking abstinence did not affect craving for food, but food abstinence modestly increased smoking craving. These results indicate that craving for cigarettes or food is specifically increased by both deprivation from the substance and by presentation of substance-related cues.

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