Eric S. Grady

Date of Graduation


Document Type



This study investigated subjective craving and physiological responses to a series of smoking-related and smoking-unrelated cues in a sample of young adult smokers. Fifty-six young adult smokers (29 female) who were deprived of cigarettes for at least two hours, completed five 90 s experimental tasks in counterbalanced order, during which they manipulated in vivo smoking cues (a preferred cigarette and lighter), and watched a picture slideshow of others smoking in naturalistic environments. In vivo and pictorial smoking-related tasks were compared to neutral in vivo and pictorial cues and a mental arithmetic challenge. Physiological measures (systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressure, heart rate, and skin conductance) were collected during each task and subjective craving was assessed immediately following each task. Inconsistent with expectations, no differences were observed for heart rate reactivity to in vivo smoking cues compared to both in vivo neutral cues and pictorial smoking cues. Self-reported craving was greater for smoking-salient cues compared to neutral cues, and for in vivo cues compared to pictorial cues. Although heart rate and craving reactivity were not influenced by order of task presentation, skin conductance and blood pressure responses were influenced by task order. Increased skin conductance response to in vivo smoking related cues in contrast to pictorial smoking related cues was only observed for one of the four task orders used in the study. These findings emphasize the need for smoking cue reactivity studies to examine order effects when within subjects designs are used.