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Addict Behav. 2011 Jul;36(7):737-42. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2011.02.011. Epub 2011 Mar 1.

Exposure to smoking cues: cardiovascular and autonomic effects.

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  • 1Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States. joel.erblich@mssm.edu


Laboratory exposures to smoking cues have been shown to reliably induce self-reported cigarette cravings among smokers, a model of environmentally triggered urges to smoke that can contribute to poorer cessation success. Several studies have also demonstrated that cue exposures give rise to changes in heart rate and blood pressure. Few studies, however, have investigated possible cue effects on heart rate and blood pressure variability (HRV and BPV). Particularly intriguing in this regard are cardiac oscillations in the low (i.e., 0.04-0.15 Hz), and high (i.e., 0.15-0.50 Hz) frequency range, which are thought to reflect components of autonomic control and response to environmental challenges. A closer examination of cardiovascular reactivity may thus help characterize the autonomic response to smoking cue exposure. To that end, an experimental study was conducted in which nicotine dependent daily smokers (n=98) were exposed to guided imagery of neutral and smoking situations, while continuous, noninvasive, beat-to-beat cardiovascular data were collected. Consistent with previous research, the findings revealed significant increases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure during smoking imagery, relative to neutral imagery. In addition, power spectral density analyses of heart rate and blood pressure variability revealed elevated HRV and BPV in both the low- and high-frequency ranges during the smoking imagery. The results suggest the presence of an autonomic component to smoking cue reactivity, and also raise the possibility of long-term negative cardiac consequences for smokers who ubiquitously encounter cues in their daily environments.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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