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Brain Res Bull. 2016 May;123:23-32. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2015.10.003. Epub 2015 Oct 23.

Cue-reactivity in experienced electronic cigarette users: Novel stimulus videos and a pilot fMRI study.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, United States. Electronic address: travis.nichols.psu@gmail.com.
2
Department of Public Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, United States.
3
Center for The Study of Tobacco Products, Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, United States.
4
Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, United States.

Abstract

Some individuals who try electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) continue to use long-term. Previous research has investigated the safety of e-cigarettes and their potential for use in smoking cessation, but comparatively little research has explored chronic or habitual e-cigarette use. In particular, the relationship between e-cigarette cues and craving is unknown. We sought to bridge this gap by developing a novel set of e-cigarette (salient) and electronic toothbrush (neutral) videos for use in cue-reactivity paradigms. Additionally, we demonstrate the utility of this approach in a pilot fMRI study of 7 experienced e-cigarette users. Participants were scanned while viewing the cue videos before and after 10min use of their own e-cigarettes (producing an 11.7ng/ml increase in plasma nicotine concentration). A significant session (pre- and post-use) by video type (salient and neutral) interaction was exhibited in many sensorimotor areas commonly activated in other cue-reactivity paradigms. We did not detect significant cue-related activity in other brain regions notable in the craving literature. Possible reasons for this discrepancy are discussed, including the importance of matching cue stimuli to participants' experiences.

KEYWORDS:

Craving; Cue; E-cigarette; E-cigs; Stimulus; fMRI

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