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Addiction. 2015 Jan;110(1):174-82. doi: 10.1111/add.12756. Epub 2014 Nov 13.

Plain cigarette packs do not exert Pavlovian to instrumental transfer of control over tobacco-seeking.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK; School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Abstract

AIMS:

To gain insight into the potential impact of plain tobacco packaging policy, two experiments were undertaken to test whether 'prototype' plain compared with branded UK cigarette pack stimuli would differentially elicit instrumental tobacco-seeking in a nominal Pavlovian to instrumental transfer (PIT) procedure.

DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS:

Two experiments were undertaken at the University of Bristol UK, with a convenience sample of adult smokers (experiment 1, n = 23, experiment 2, n = 121).

MEASUREMENT:

In both experiments, smokers were trained on a concurrent choice procedure in which two responses earned points for cigarettes and chocolate, respectively, before images of branded and plain packs were tested for capacity to elicit the tobacco-seeking response in extinction. The primary outcome was percentage choice of the tobacco- over the chocolate-seeking response in plain pack, branded pack and no-stimulus conditions.

FINDINGS:

Both experiments found that branded packs primed a greater percentage of tobacco-seeking (overall mean = 62%) than plain packs (overall mean = 53%) and the no-stimulus condition (overall mean = 52%; Ps ≤ 0.01, ŋp (2) s ≥ 0.16), and that there was no difference in percentage tobacco-seeking between plain packs and the no-stimulus condition (Ps ≥ 0.17, ŋp (2) s ≤ 0.04). Plain tobacco packs showed an overall 9% reduction in the priming of a tobacco choice response compared to branded tobacco packs.

CONCLUSIONS:

Plain packaging may reduce smoking in current smokers by degrading cue-elicited tobacco-seeking.

KEYWORDS:

Cue-reactivity; Pavlovian to instrumental transfer; plain packaging; public health; smoking cessation; tobacco-seeking.

PMID:
25292280
PMCID:
PMC4309177
DOI:
10.1111/add.12756
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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