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Abstract

This research investigated the effect of alcohol consumption on smokers' general levels of craving for cigarettes and their reactivity to smoking-related cues. Cue reactivity was evaluated across multiple trials of exposure to both imaginal and in vivo presentations of smoking and non-smoking stimuli. On imagery trials, subjects imagined either smoking and non-smoking scenarios; during in vivo trials subjects watched an experimenter either smoke a cigarette or drink water. Measures included self-reported craving to smoke and selected somatovisceral responses. Subjects (n = 60) completed two sessions, the first examined cue reactivity in the absence of alcohol. In Session 2 subjects were told they were consuming alcohol; half received placebo and the other half were given ethanol (0. 75 ml/kg). Following beverage consumption, subjects were exposed to the cue manipulation. In both sessions, exposure to smoking stimuli enhanced craving in each presentation mode and increased skin conductance levels in the in vivo mode. Alcohol intoxication produced a generalized increase in craving but did not selectively enhance craving or physiological reactivity to smoking stimuli. The results are discussed in terms of models of craving and processes through which alcohol may influence craving to smoke.