Exposure to negative affect cues and urge to smoke

Christine Vinci, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, USA.
Amy L. Copeland
Maureen H. Carrigan


While much of the cue exposure literature for cigarette smoking has focused on external cues, little has been done in the area of exposing participants to internal cues, such as negative affect (NA), despite the important role of such cues in maintaining smoking behavior. Smokers were exposed to an NA mood induction to induce an urge to smoke and then exposed to NA cues over several trials in an attempt to decrease this urge. Participants (N = 32) were undergraduate smokers assigned to either the exposure or control group for the mood induction procedure, which occurred over 8 trials. All participants viewed NA images and listened to NA music at Trial 1. The exposure group continued to view NA images and listened to NA music, and the control group viewed neutral images and listened to neutral music for 6 subsequent trials lasting about 5 min each. Both groups were exposed to NA images and NA music at Trial 8. NA and urge to smoke ratings were assessed at the end of each trial; heart rate was measured continuously. Results indicated that the mood induction procedure induced NA and urge to smoke, but the extinction procedure did not decrease urge over trials. Heart rate data were not associated with self-report data. In conclusion, the mood induction procedure in the present study appears to be an efficient way to induce urge to smoke. However, further research is necessary to determine why urge to smoke seems to be resistant to extinction.