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The Role Of Cross-Cue Reactivity In Coexisting Smoking And Gambling Habits

Edelgard Wulfert, Kristen Harris, James Broussard

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Cigarette smoking is the most common addictive behaviour co-occurring with problem gambling. Based on classical conditioning, smoking and gambling cues may acquire conditioned stimulus properties that elicit cravings for both behaviours. This study examined cross-cue reactivity in 75 men who were regular smokers, poker players or cigarette-smoking poker players. Participants were exposed to discrete cigarette, poker and neutral cues while skin conductance and psychological urges to smoke and gamble were measured. Results showed evidence of cross-cue reactivity based on skin conductance, and subjective response to smoking cues; subjective response to gambling cues was less clear. Smoking gamblers showed greater skin conductance reactivity to cues, and stronger subjective urges to smoke to smoking and gambling cues, compared to individuals who only smoked or only gambled. This study demonstrates evidence for cross-cue reactivity between a substance and a behavioural addiction, and the results encourage further research.