Can attitudes about smoking impact cigarette cravings?

Lauren Bertin, Samara Lipsky, Joel Erblich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Cigarette cravings, especially those in response to environmental stressors and other smoking-related triggers (e.g., passing by a favorite smoking spot), are important contributors to smoking behavior and relapse. Previous studies have demonstrated significant individual differences in such cravings. This study explores the possibility that attitudes about smoking can influence the experience of cigarette craving. Consistent with classical theories of the links between cognition and motivation, we predicted that smokers who exhibit more favorable attitudes towards smoking would have greater cravings. Daily smokers (n = 103, mean age = 41.8 years, 33% female) were instructed to imagine smoking, stress, and neutral scenarios. Cravings were measured prior to and after each exposure. Participants also completed an abridged version of the Smoking Consequence Questionnaire (SCQ) that had them rate the: 1) desirability and 2) likelihood, for eighteen separate negative smoking consequences (e.g., “The more I smoke, the more I risk my health”, “People will think less of me if they see me smoking”). Findings revealed that favorable attitudes about the consequences of smoking, as measured by the SCQ-desirability index, significantly predicted cigarette cravings. Findings suggest that individual attitudes toward smoking may play an important role in better understanding cigarette cravings, which may ultimately help identify targets for more efficient and effective cognitive/attitude-based interventions for smoking cessation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-375
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Attitudes
  • Cigarette craving
  • Cue-induced craving
  • Negative consequences
  • Smoking consequences questionnaire


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