Craving and Tobacco Use: Development of the Choice Behavior Under Cued Conditions (CBUCC) Procedure

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Many addiction theories propose that craving modulates smoking. Research on this relationship has yielded mixed results, which might be explained, in part, by a consideration of the various behaviors representing tobacco use. Tobacco use can be divided into seeking (attempts to access cigarettes) and consumption (ingestion of tobacco). Seeking can be further divided into behaviors that reflect the operation of automatic or nonautomatic cognitive processes. We developed a procedure (Choice Behavior Under Cued Conditions) to systematically examine the relationships between craving and these behaviors. Over multiple trials, thirty dependent smokers were exposed to a lit cigarette or a cup of water located behind a locked glass door. On each trial, participants rated craving and indicated the amount of money ($.01–$.25) they would spend to gain access to the cue. The amount spent, which determined the probability that the door would be unlocked and participants could sample the cue, indexed nonautomatic seeking. Latency to access the cue indexed automatic seeking behavior, and puff duration indexed consumption. Participants on average reported mild to moderate craving levels and had significantly higher craving and spent significantly more money on cigarette trials than water trials, though they did not access the cigarette more quickly than the water. Craving was significantly associated with money spent on cigarette trials (r = 0.54, p < .001) and puff duration (r = 0.38, p < .05), but not with latency (r = 0.35, p = .06). Overall, the data support the utility of this new procedure for examining the relationships between craving and various manifestations of tobacco use.

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