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Psychol Addict Behav. 2016 Feb;30(1):106-12. doi: 10.1037/adb0000123. Epub 2015 Nov 30.

Exposure to electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) visual imagery increases smoking urge and desire.

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Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago.
College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago.


Use and awareness of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS; also known as electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes) has increased rapidly in recent years, particularly among young adults. As use of ENDS resembles traditional smoking in both hand-to-mouth movements and inhalation and exhalation behaviors, we determined whether exposure to e-cigarette use via video exposure would act as a cue to elicit urge and desire for a combustible cigarette. Young adult smokers (mean age of 26.3 ± 4.1 years) were randomized to view a brief video montage of advertisements depicting either e-cigarette vaping (n = 38) or bottled water drinking (n = 40). Pre- and postcue exposure assessments were conducted in a controlled laboratory setting without other smoking or vaping cues present or behaviors allowed. Primary outcomes included change from pre-exposure baseline in smoking urge (Brief Questionnaire of Smoking Urges) and desire for a combustible and e-cigarette (visual analogue scales). Results showed that relative to exposure to the bottled water video, exposure to the ENDS video significantly increased smoking urge (p < .001) as well as desire for a regular cigarette (p < .05) and an e-cigarette (p < .001). These findings provide preliminary evidence that passive exposure to video imagery of ENDS use may generalize as a condition cue and evoke urges for a combustible cigarette in young adult smokers. It remains to be determined whether such increases in urge and desire correspond to increases in actual smoking behavior.

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