Cue reactivity in non-daily smokers: Effects on craving and on smoking behavior

Saul Shiffman, Michael S. Dunbar, Thomas R. Kirchner, Xiaoxue Li, Hilary A. Tindle, Stewart J. Anderson, Sarah M. Scholl, Stuart G. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale: Non-daily, or intermittent smokers (ITS), are increasingly prevalent. Their smoking may be more situational than that of daily smokers (DS), and thus is hypothesized to be more influenced by cues. Objectives: To assess ITS' response to cues, and compare it to that of DS. Methods: Samples of 239 ITS and 207 DS (previously reported in Shiffman et al. 2012a) were studied in 2,586 laboratory cue-reactivity sessions. Craving (Questionnaire of Smoking Urges) and smoking (probability, latency, puff parameters, and carbon monoxide increases) in response to cues was assessed following exposure to neutral cues and cues related to smoking, alcohol, negative affect, positive affect, and smoking prohibitions. Mixed effects models, generalized estimating equations and random-effects survival analyses were used to assess response to cues and differences between DS and ITS. Results: ITS' craving increased following exposure to smoking and alcohol cues and decreased following positive affect cues, but cues had little effect on smoking behaviors. Cue reactivity was similar in ITS and DS. Among ITS, craving intensity predicted smoking probability, latency, and intensity, and the effects on latency were stronger among ITS than DS. Conclusions: Contrary to hypotheses, ITS were not more responsive to laboratory cues than DS. Results show that ITS do experience craving and craving increases that are then associated with smoking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-333
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Craving
  • Cue reactivity
  • Non-daily smoking
  • Smoking
  • Smoking topography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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