A Descriptive Study of the Relationships of Craving, Nicotine, and Smoking Topography in Adult Smokers

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The Ohio State University

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Accounting for 1 in every 5 deaths, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Craving, smoking topography, and serum nicotine are all believed to play an important role in maintaining regular smoking behaviors and inhibiting the cessation process for adult smokers attempting to quit. (Purpose) This study characterizes the relationship between serum nicotine levels pre- and post-cigarette, smoking topography parameters, and subjective craving measures pre- and post-cigarette. (Methods) This study was a secondary analysis of an NIH-funded 5-year project in which adult smokers were admitted to the OSU Clinical Research Center for 36 hours. The sample consists of 114 male and female adult smokers. Satisfaction measures were obtained using a “Desire to Smoke” visual analog scale (VAS), plasma nicotine was assayed using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and smoking topography was measured using a flowmeter cigarette holder instrument (Plowshare Technologies, Baltimore, MD). Secondary characteristics including gender, addiction, and age were described. Variables were analyzed using SPSS Statistics Software. (Results) A direct, positive relationship exists between cigarette puff total and pre- and post-cigarette nicotine serum levels. Average daily VAS scores and pre- and post-nicotine levels were positively correlated. Subjective level of addiction and FTND (nicotine dependence) scores were positively correlated with VAS scores and pre- and post-cigarette nicotine levels. Women reported higher craving scores and took more puffs, while men reported lower craving scores and had increased puff volume and puff duration measures. (Discussion) The results illustrate that smokers with higher FTND and level of addiction scores maintain higher levels of serum nicotine and report higher levels of craving throughout the day. Biological and behavioral aspects of smoking interact to influence specific smoking behaviors. (Importance) Results may be utilized to initiate smoking cessation strategies to modify craving levels, nicotine concentrations, and smoking topography parameters.



tobacco, nicotine, craving, smoking topography, cigarettes