Role of cigarette sensory cues in modifying puffing topography

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2012 Jul 1;124(1-2):1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.01.012. Epub 2012 Feb 25.


Background: Human puffing topography promotes tobacco dependence by ensuring nicotine delivery, but the factors that determine puffing behavior are not well explained by existing models. Chemosensory cues generated by variations in cigarette product design features may serve as conditioned cues to allow the smoker to optimize nicotine delivery by adjusting puffing topography. Internal tobacco industry research documents were reviewed to understand the influence of sensory cues on puffing topography, and to examine how the tobacco industry has designed cigarettes, including modified risk tobacco products (MRTPs), to enhance puffing behavior to optimize nicotine delivery and product acceptability.

Methods: Relevant internal tobacco industry documents were identified using systematic searching with key search terms and phrases, and then snowball sampling method was applied to establish further search terms.

Results: Modern cigarettes are designed by cigarette manufacturers to provide sensory characteristics that not only maintain appeal, but provide cues which inform puffing intensity. Alterations in the chemosensory cues provided in tobacco smoke play an important role in modifying smoking behavior independently of the central effects of nicotine.

Conclusions: An associative learning model is proposed to explain the influence of chemosensory cues on variation in puffing topography. These cues are delivered via tobacco smoke and are moderated by design features and additives used in cigarettes. The implications for regulation of design features of modified risk tobacco products, which may act to promote intensive puffing while lowering risk perceptions, are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior / drug effects
  • Cues
  • Humans
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Tobacco Industry*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology*


  • Nicotine