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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 193; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020193

The Importance of Conditioned Stimuli in Cigarette and E-Cigarette Craving Reduction by E-Cigarettes

Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Department of Psychology, Thomas More University College, 3414 Antwerp, Belgium
Interuniversity Institute for Biostatistics and Statistical Bioinformatics, KU Leuven and University of Hasselt, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Zubair Kabir
Received: 24 November 2016 / Revised: 23 December 2016 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 15 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue E-Cigarettes: Epidemiology, Policy and Public Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2211 KB, uploaded 15 February 2017]   |  


This study examined the impact of four variables pertaining to the use of e-cigarettes (e-cigs) on cravings for tobacco cigarettes and for e-cigs after an overnight abstinence period. The four variables were the nicotine level, the sensorimotor component, the visual aspect, and the aroma of the e-cig. In an experimental study, 81 participants without prior vaping experience first got acquainted with using e-cigs in a one-week tryout period, after which they participated in a lab session assessing the effect of five minutes of vaping following an abstinence period of 12 h. A mixed-effects model clearly showed the importance of nicotine in craving reduction. However, also non-nicotine factors, in particular the sensorimotor component, were shown to contribute to craving reduction. Handling cues interacted with the level (presence/absence) of nicotine: it was only when the standard hand-to-mouth action cues were omitted that the craving reducing effects of nicotine were observed. Effects of aroma or visual cues were not observed, or weak and difficult to interpret, respectively. View Full-Text
Keywords: e-cig; experimental study; conditioned stimuli; sensorimotor; aroma; visual cues; nicotine e-cig; experimental study; conditioned stimuli; sensorimotor; aroma; visual cues; nicotine

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Van Heel, M.; Van Gucht, D.; Vanbrabant, K.; Baeyens, F. The Importance of Conditioned Stimuli in Cigarette and E-Cigarette Craving Reduction by E-Cigarettes. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 193.

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