Role of nicotine dose and sensory cues in the regulation of smoke intake

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1993 Apr;44(4):891-900. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(93)90021-k.


We investigated the role of nicotine dose and sensory cues in the regulation of ad lib smoke intake. The smoking behavior of 12 adult male smokers was assessed in three conditions, presenting either high-nicotine cigarette smoke (high nicotine, high sensory), diluted cigarette smoke (low nicotine, low sensory), or an aerosol containing cigarette smoke constituents suspended in solution, which was low in nicotine, yet high in sensory impact. Subjects showed marked compensatory increases in smoking with the dilute smoke conditions, whereas they puffed and inhaled the aerosol to a similar extent as the high-nicotine cigarette. Thus, subjects regulated their smoking behavior to equate sensory intensity rather than nicotine intake. Moreover, the aerosol and high-nicotine cigarette conditions lowered craving to a greater degree than the dilute smoke condition. Other mood indices, such as arousal and negative affect, were more effectively relieved by the high-nicotine dose condition. These results highlight the importance of sensory cues in the regulation of smoke intake and modulation of craving and suggest the clinical application of techniques for providing relief of cigarette craving during smoking cessation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aerosols
  • Affect / drug effects
  • Arousal
  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis
  • Cues*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage
  • Nicotine / pharmacology*
  • Respiratory System / drug effects
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / physiopathology


  • Aerosols
  • Nicotine
  • Carbon Monoxide