Title

PICTURE THIS! SMOKING CUES: ELICITORS OF COMPENSATORY RESPONSES IN SMOKERS

Introduction

Understanding why individuals’ attempts to quit smoking cigarettes often fail is key to treatment and continued abstinence. Research (e.g., Siegel et al., 1982) has demonstrated that conditional physiological compensatory responses (CPCR, i.e., automatic drops in naturally occurring substances in the body) are elicited by drug use when repeatedly paired with the same environmental stimuli. Cue-reactivity research (e.g., Conklin, 2007) suggests this phenomenon may occur in individuals who smoke cigarettes; however, most research studies use self-report measures, which cannot identify CPCR. A widely used measure, the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND), is often the only or primary measure used to identify levels of nicotine dependence among smokers.

Purpose

The purpose of the current study was twofold: (1) assess the utility of the FTND as a reliable measure of nicotine dependence within the context of measuring CPCR and (2) using an ABCBC design to assess whether exposure to smoking-related and nonsmoking-related images elicited CPCR in smokers (n=5) and nonsmokers (n=5).

Method

Participants were classified as smokers if they had an expired carbon monoxide (CO) level of 11ppm or greater. Participants were exposed to slide shows across 4 sessions and completed the FTND at each session.

Results

Results suggested that the FTND failed to detect nicotine dependence in four of the five smokers even though these participants had met or exceeded 11ppm (range=17-21ppm). CPCR appears to have occurred during the smoking conditions across all smokers such that, when smokers viewed smoking-related images, their CO readings decreased from pre-to-post slideshow viewing.

Significance

This drop in CO levels was not evident in (a) nonsmoking participants, (b) smoking participants following a nonsmoking visual array, or (c) a smoker-control participant, suggesting smokers’ bodies were preparing for the impending artificial CO (i.e., cigarette) by dropping naturally occurring CO levels in their bodies. FTND results suggest that the use of this self-report measure may produce false negatives when classifying moderate to heavy smokers relative to CO levels. Future research on compensatory responses as they relate to smokers reports of “cravings” and withdrawal symptoms may provide useful information for smoking cessation programs. Additional research should more closely examine whether changes in CO levels are, in fact, indicative of physiological compensatory responses, or instead were the result of changes in exhalation duration into the CO monitor as suggested by others’ research on operant learning influences on smoking-related behaviors.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Stockton campus, University of the Pacific

Format

Poster Presentation

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Mar 25th, 10:00 AM Mar 25th, 3:00 PM

PICTURE THIS! SMOKING CUES: ELICITORS OF COMPENSATORY RESPONSES IN SMOKERS

DeRosa University Center, Stockton campus, University of the Pacific

Understanding why individuals’ attempts to quit smoking cigarettes often fail is key to treatment and continued abstinence. Research (e.g., Siegel et al., 1982) has demonstrated that conditional physiological compensatory responses (CPCR, i.e., automatic drops in naturally occurring substances in the body) are elicited by drug use when repeatedly paired with the same environmental stimuli. Cue-reactivity research (e.g., Conklin, 2007) suggests this phenomenon may occur in individuals who smoke cigarettes; however, most research studies use self-report measures, which cannot identify CPCR. A widely used measure, the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND), is often the only or primary measure used to identify levels of nicotine dependence among smokers.