One definition of the reinforcing value of a drug is the degree to which an organism will work to obtain it. Male and female smokers (n = 8 each) engaged in a task involving concurrent schedules of reinforcement for responding to receive cigarette puffs versus money on four occasions, following overnight abstinence versus no abstinence and in the presense of a lit cigarette (smoking "cue") or with no cigarette (2×2 design). Reinforcement schedule for puffs ranged from variable ratio 4 (VR4) to VR32, with schedule order during the first five trials (VR4 first, VR32 first) counterbalanced and repeated in reverse sequence during the second five trials. Schedule for money remained at VR4 during all trials. Results indicated significantly greater responding for puffs after overnight abstinence and in the presence of the smoking cue, although effect of the cue was specific to the "leaner" VR schedules (VR16, VR32). Unexpectedly, not only was reinforcement schedule for puffs a significant determinant of responding, but the order of these schedules (i.e. VR4 first vs. VR32 first) produced a significant overall difference in responding for puffs, especially in the presence of the cue. There was no difference in responding between males and females. These findings indicate that the reinforcing value of smoking is increased by overnight abstinence, the presence of a lit cigarette under lean reinforcement conditions, and the order in which reinforcement schedules are presented. © 1993.
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