Effects of transdermal nicotine patches on abstinence-induced and cue-elicited craving in cigarette smokers

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2000 Apr;68(2):233-40. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.68.2.233.


The impact of a transdermal nicotine patch on smokers' craving for cigarettes and reactivity to smoking cues was investigated. Sixty-one smokers were assessed during 2 sessions separated by 6 hr. Cue reactivity to imaginal and in vivo smoking and nonsmoking stimuli was evaluated during both sessions. During the interval between sessions, participants were abstinent from cigarettes and wore either a nicotine transdermal (21 mg) or placebo patch. In both sessions, exposure to in vivo and imaginal smoking stimuli elicited cue-specific increases in craving, negative affect, vividness, heart rate, and skin conductance. The nicotine patch attenuated craving and other effects induced by abstinence from cigarettes but had no selective impact on craving or any other reaction elicited by smoking cues. These results are discussed in terms of models of craving and clinical implications of transdermal nicotine for craving reduction.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Arousal / drug effects
  • Cues*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage*
  • Nicotine / adverse effects
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / prevention & control*


  • Nicotine