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Behav Pharmacol. 2012 Jun;23(3):221-7. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0b013e328353431c.

The acute effects of nicotine on the subjective and behavioural responses to denicotinized tobacco in dependent smokers.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Both nicotine and various non-nicotine smoking factors are believed to contribute to tobacco addiction but their relative roles remain incompletely understood. This study aimed to help clarify these roles by examining acute interactions between nicotine and denicotinized tobacco (DT). During two randomized blinded sessions, the effects of a quick-release 4 mg nicotine lozenge (NL) versus placebo lozenge (PL) on the subjective and behavioural responses to DT were examined in 27 (14 men) dependent, daily smokers. Participants were administered NL or PL for 30 min before receiving one initial DT cigarette. Participants could then earn additional DT cigarette puffs over the following 60 min. Subjective state was assessed using the Questionnaire of Smoking Urges-Brief and visual analogue scales at baseline, postlozenge and postinitial DT cigarette. Relative to PL, NL was associated with increased alertness as well as with reduced levels of DT self-administration (P<0.01). The administration of a single DT cigarette was followed by a reduction in craving under both lozenge conditions (P<0.001), an effect that was significantly greater in women (P<0.01). Moreover, DT administration was associated with increased ratings of 'pleasant', 'satisfied', 'stimulated' and 'relaxed', as well as with decreased ratings of 'anxious' (P's<0.01), independent of lozenge condition. The findings suggest that both nicotine and non-nicotine smoking factors may make important contributions towards the addictive properties of tobacco.

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