We assessed craving and smoking in response to smoking-relevant cues. Two hundred seven daily smokers viewed images related to 1 of 6 cue sets (cigarettes, positive and negative affect, alcohol, smoking prohibitions, and neutral cues) in separate sessions. Compared with neutral cues, cigarette cues significantly increased craving, and positive affect cues significantly decreased craving. When subjects were then allowed to smoke during continuing cue exposure, cues did not affect the likelihood of smoking or the amount smoked (number of cigarettes, number of puffs, puff time, or increased carbon monoxide). However, craving intensity predicted likelihood of smoking, latency to smoke, and amount smoked, with craving increases after cue exposure making significant independent contributions. Some craving effects were curvilinear, suggesting that they are subject to thresholds and might not be observed under some circumstances.
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