Cigarette Cue Attentional Bias in Cocaine-Smoking and Non-Cocaine-Using Cigarette Smokers

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Abstract

Introduction:

Cigarette smoking in cocaine users is nearly four times higher than the national prevalence and cocaine use increases cigarette smoking. The mechanisms underlying cigarette smoking in cocaine-using individuals need to be identified to promote cigarette and cocaine abstinence. Previous studies have examined the salience of cigarette and cocaine cues separately. The present aim was to determine whether cigarette attentional bias (AB) is higher in cigarettes smokers who smoke cocaine relative to individuals who only smoke cigarettes.

Methods:

Twenty cigarette smokers who smoke cocaine and 20 non-cocaine-using cigarette smokers completed a visual probe task with eye-tracking technology. During this task, the magnitude of cigarette and cocaine AB was assessed through orienting bias, fixation time, and response time.

Results:

Cocaine users displayed an orienting bias towards cigarette cues. Cocaine users also endorsed a more urgent desire to smoke to relieve negative affect associated with cigarette craving than non-cocaine users (g = 0.6). Neither group displayed a cigarette AB, as measured by fixation time. Cocaine users, but not non-cocaine users, displayed a cocaine AB as measured by orienting bias (g = 2.0) and fixation time (g = 1.2). There were no significant effects for response time data.

Conclusions:

Cocaine-smoking cigarettes smokers display an initial orienting bias toward cigarette cues, but not sustained cigarette AB. The incentive motivation underlying cigarette smoking also differs. Cocaine smokers report more urgent desire to smoke to relieve negative affect. Identifying differences in motivation to smoke cigarettes may provide new treatment targets for cigarette and cocaine use disorders.

Implications:

These results suggest that cocaine-smoking cigarette smokers display an initial orienting bias towards cigarette cues, but not sustained attention towards cigarette cues, relative to non-cocaine-using smokers. Smoked cocaine users also report a more urgent desire to smoke to relieve negative affect than non-cocaine users. Identifying differences in motivation to smoke cigarettes may provide new treatment targets for both cigarette and cocaine use disorders.

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