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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004 Jul;78(3):647-52.

Cue reactivity in smokers: the effects of perceived cigarette availability and gender.

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School of Psychology, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, S017 1BJ, UK.


We examined the effects of perceived cigarette availability and gender on smoking cue reactivity. Smokers were exposed to smoking cues (smoking paraphernalia) and control cues whilst their subjective and physiological responses were measured. Perceived cigarette availability was manipulated on a between-subjects basis before cue exposure. Relative to control cues, smoking cues evoked increases in the level of skin conductance in all participants. Cigarette craving was also increased in the presence of smoking cues, but only in female participants. Perceived cigarette availability had no effect on these responses. Participants also showed salivary reactivity to smoking cues, with males showing a decrease in salivation, and females showing an increase, but only when cigarettes were perceived as unavailable. These results suggest that perceived cigarette availability may not influence craving and skin conductance reactivity to smoking cues in minimally dependent smokers who are not nicotine deprived. In addition, the present data suggest that there are important gender differences in craving reactivity to smoking cues.

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