An Examination of the Roles of Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Sensory Stimuli in Attentional Bias and the Subjective Effects of Smoking
Degree awarded: M.A. Psychology. American University Smoking nicotine (NIC) or denicotinized (DN) cigarettes reduces craving and withdrawal in smokers (Donny et al., 2006; Gross et al., 1997; Butchsky et al., 1995). Both the sensory aspects (e.g. taste, smell, feel) of cigarettes and nicotine exposure affect smokers. An attentional bias to smoking-related stimuli exists among smokers (Zack et al., 2001; Johnsen et al., 1997; Gross, Jarvik, & Rosenblatt, 1993), particularly after abstinence (Zack et al., 2001; Gross et al., 1993). Paying greater attention to smoking-related cues than neutral cues could promote smoking and impede cessation (Niaura et al., 1988). The current study examined attentional bias and subjective behaviors in 63 daily smokers assigned to smoke a NIC, DN, or no cigarette after 12 hours of abstinence. NIC and DN smokers reduced urge to smoke, mood disturbance, and withdrawal more than controls, but did not differ from each other. Contrary to predictions, the three conditions did not show differences in attentional bias to smoking-related stimuli.