Sex differences in smoking cue reactivity: craving, negative affect, and preference for immediate smoking

Am J Addict. May-Jun 2014;23(3):211-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1521-0391.2014.12094.x.


Background and objectives: Female smokers have greater difficulty quitting, possibly due to increased reactivity to smoking-related cues. This study assessed sex differences in craving, affect, and preference for immediate smoking after cue exposure.

Methods: Regular smokers (n = 60; 50% female) were exposed to smoking and neutral cues in separate, counterbalanced sessions. Outcomes included changes in craving and affect and preference for immediate smoking following cue exposure.

Results: Findings indicated that women exhibited greater preference for immediate smoking (p = .004), and reported greater cue-induced increases in cigarette craving (p = .046) and negative affect (p = .025).

Discussion and conclusions: These data suggest that women may have greater difficulty inhibiting smoking after cue exposure, possibly as a consequence of greater increases in craving and negative affect.

Scientific significance and future directions: Findings suggest a mechanism that may contribute to greater cessation failure among female smokers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Aged
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology*
  • Craving*
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Young Adult