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Sensorimotor replacement with electronic and de-nicotinised cigarettes : short-term effects on urges to smoke, withdrawal symptoms and smoking cessation

Background: Current smoking-cessation medicines can assist smokers to quit, but have limited efficacy. Supplementing them with a replacement for the sensory and behavioural aspects of smoking, which are hypothesised to act as secondary reinforcers, could in theory help to alleviate urges to smoke and withdrawal, and may assist smoking cessation. Methods: Three studies were conducted to examine sensorimotor replacement (SMR) effects. The first two employed a cross-over design to assess the effects of two SMR products, nicotine-free electronic cigarettes (ECs) and de-nicotinised cigarettes (DNCs), on short-term withdrawal, urges to smoke, and user acceptability. Study 1 (N= 35), compared EC to a stress ball (SB) to control for behavioural distraction and Study 2 (N=41) tested whether SMR effects were ‘dose dependent’ by comparing DNCs with ECs. The final study was part of a randomised controlled trial (N= 200) of DNCs in combination with standard treatment. It examined whether SMR effects on abstinence are moderated by scores on a ‘behavioural’ dependence measure (GN-SBQ). Results: The EC was preferred over the SB, and alleviated urge to smoke more than SB, but the effect was modest and short-lived. The DNC and EC had similar effects acutely, but DNC suppressed urges to smoke and withdrawal to a somewhat greater extent over a day of abstinence. DNCs combined with standard smoking-cessation treatment improved short-term abstinence regardless of GN-SBQ scores. Conclusion: SMR effects on urge and withdrawal alleviation were modest and a ‘dose response’ effect was not clearly established. An attempt to identify smokers for whom SMR may be of particular benefit was not successful. SMR however, was perceived as helpful and appealing, and results from the trial suggest that adding SMR may enhance existing treatments. It was proposed that rather than directly alleviating urges/withdrawal, SMR may operate as a coping tool in ‘high-risk’ situations, by providing an alternative to smoking.
Date January 2014
CreatorsPrzulj, Djuna
PublisherQueen Mary, University of London
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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