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Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2004 Nov;12(4):276-87.

An experimental examination of the initial weeks of abstinence in cigarette smokers.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont, 38 Fletcher Place, Burlington, VT 05401-1419, USA.


Gaining experimental control over abstinence may help define processes that change during abstinence that may be related to the association between initial abstinence and relapse risk often noted in clinical trials. Adult smokers (n = 34) were randomly assigned to receive monetary incentives contingent on abstinence (CO +/- 4 ppm) or noncontingent for 12 days. Carbon monoxide (CO) tests were conducted 3 times per day, saliva samples were collected on Days 5 and 12, and all other measures were collected 1 time per day. In the contingent group, 59% of participants abstained throughout the study versus 0% in the control condition. Abstinence was associated with increases in participant-rated ease of abstaining and confidence in abstinence; nicotine withdrawal severity and craving decreased over time. Results indicate that it is feasible to experimentally manipulate smoking abstinence and that doing so can enhance understanding of the relationship between early abstinence and relapse risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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