Aims This experiment was conducted to determine the impact of cigarette deprivation and cigarette availability on reactivity measures to cigarette cues.
Participants Smokers were recruited who were 18 years of age or older, not attempting to quit or cut down on their smoking, smoked at least 20 cigarettes daily, had been smoking regularly for past year and had an expired carbon monoxide level of at least 10 parts per million.
Design Smokers were assigned randomly to abstain from smoking for 24 hours (n = 51) or continue smoking their regular amount (n = 50). Twenty-four hours later, they were exposed to trials of either a lit cigarette or a glass of water with a 0, 50 or 100% probability of being able to sample the cue on each trial. Craving, mood, heart rate, skin conductance, puff topography and latency to access door to sample the cue were measured.
Findings Both exposure to cigarette cues and increasing availability of those cues produced higher levels of craving to smoke. Deprivation produced a generalized increase in craving. There was no consistent evidence, however, that even under conditions of high cigarette availability, deprived smokers were sensitized selectively to presentations of cigarette cues.
Conclusions The data suggest that, even under conditions of immediate cigarette availability, deprivation and cue presentations have independent, additive effects on self-reported craving levels in smokers.