Smokers can learn to influence their urge to smoke

M. Dols, B. Willems, M. van den Hout, R. Bittoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Forty heavy smokers participated in a within-subject experiment in which the association between smoking-related cues and nicotine intake was made conditional on two neutral stimuli. Two colored cards indicated whether smoking-related cues, placed on the cards, would or would not be followed by nicotine intake. In the presence of each card, subjects were asked to rank their urge to smoke before and during the exposure to the smoking cues. The results of the present study revealed that the predictive value of a cue, in regard to the occurrence of nicotine intake, strongly determines its ability to generate craving. It was concluded that participants learned a modified predictive value of smoking cues, through a process of conditioning, and in this way influenced their urge to smoke. Furthermore, the findings suggest the reconditioning of CS-US associations as an aid in the treatment of smoking addiction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-108
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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