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The relationship between nicotine dependence and cue- induced cigarette craving

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 09:03 authored by Dunbar, MS, Shiffman, S, Stuart FergusonStuart Ferguson, Kirchner, T, Tindle, H, Scholl, S
Background: Most models of dependence posit that dependence is related to background craving – a tonic state of craving when deprived. Theory and research are conflicted about how dependence relates to cue-induced craving – phasic increases in response to cues. Some models consider cue-induced craving part of dependence, and others imply that cue-responsivity disappears with dependence. These associations are further complicated by the a variety of measures of nicotine dependence, which take different theoretical approaches to the conceptualization of dependence. Method: Participants (n=198, 57% men) were daily smokers averaging 16.01 (6.71) cigarettes per day. Participants were not trying to quit smoking. We examined data from 4 cue-reactivity sessions, with cue sets (smoking, negative affect, positive affect, neutral) counterbalanced across sessions. In each session, after a 30-minute deprivation period, participants viewed 30 cue-relevant photos validated for content and shown over 3 minutes (6 seconds each). Participants rated their craving before and after cues (QSU-Brief, scaled as 1-49). Participants completed measures of nicotine dependence (FTND, NDSS, WISDM-68), which were used to predict craving. Multivariate and univariate regression models were used to predict background craving (pre-cue) and cue-induced craving (pre-post cue change scores) for QSU Factors 1 and 2. Results: Dependence measures predicted background craving, both factors 1 and 2. They did not predict cue response (controlling for session number and change in response to the neutral cue) for any cue. Conclusion: Cue-induced craving is unrelated to nicotine dependence, as traditionally assessed. Models and measures of dependence must take into account cue-induced craving. Future studies should examine the relationship between reactivity to cues and actual smoking behavior, in order to better understand how reactivity to cues and nicotine dependence may function independently or synergistically to influence smoking behavior.


Cancer Council of Tasmania


Publication title

2011 Annual Meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco - Abstracts


The SRNT Editorial board






School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology



Place of publication

Madison, WI, USA

Event title

Annual Meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco

Event Venue

Toronto, Canada

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright 2011 Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified

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