Effect of Nicotine on Negative Affect Among More Impulsive Smokers

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Abstract

In the present study, the authors tested the hypothesis that nicotine would provide greater relief from negative affect for more impulsive smokers than for less impulsive smokers. Euthymic adult smokers (N = 70) participated in 2 laboratory sessions, during which they underwent a negative mood induction (music + autobiographical memory), then smoked either a nicotinized or de-nicotinized cigarette. Mixed-effects regression yielded a significant Impulsivity × Condition (nicotinized vs. de-nicotinized) × Time interaction. Simple effects analyses showed that heightened impulsivity predicted greater negative affect relief after smoking a nicotinized cigarette but not after smoking a de-nicotinized cigarette. These data suggest that nicotine may be a disproportionately powerful negative reinforcer for highly impulsive smokers, promoting higher levels of nicotine dependence and inhibiting smoking cessation.

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