Visuo-motor adaptation in smokeless tobacco users

Nicotine Tob Res. 1999 Sep;1(3):219-27. doi: 10.1080/14622299050011331.


Ten smokeless tobacco (ST) users and 11 non-smokers participated in a visuo-motor adaptation experiment in which the visual feedback of point-to-point horizontal arm movements, displayed in real-time on a computer screen, was rotated by 45 degrees counterclockwise for some trials. Visuo-motor performance between smokers and non-smokers was compared on three occasions, once after at least 8 h of tobacco abstinence (Session 1), a second time following ST intake (Session 2), and a third time 45 min after the original ST intake (Session 3). Non-smokers were tested at the same relative times as the smokers in the absence of any tobacco. Both groups performed the three conditions during each session: baseline (normal visual feedback), rotated visual feedback (45 degrees visual feedback rotation), and post-adaptation (normal visual feedback immediately following feedback rotation). Compared with non-smokers, ST users had significantly larger normalized jerk scores (a measure of movement smoothness) after ST intake during the adaptation and post-adaptation conditions in Sessions 2 and 3, but not during the baseline conditions, implying a differential effect of ST use specific to rotated visual feedback. Movement duration was also longer for smokers than for non-smokers after ST intake, but only in the post-adaptation condition. Overall the results suggest that ST use, and hence nicotine, has a detrimental effect on visuo-motor performance, particularly on movement smoothness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Ganglionic Stimulants / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / drug effects*
  • Nicotine / adverse effects*
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Reaction Time
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / adverse effects*
  • Visual Perception*


  • Ganglionic Stimulants
  • Nicotine