Original Investigations


, Volume 97, Issue 2, pp 257-261

Nicotine chewing gum (2 mg, 4 mg) and cigarette smoking: comparative effects upon vigilance and heart rate

  • A. C. ParrottAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, North East London Polytechnic
  • , G. WinderAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, North East London Polytechnic

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Sixteen male smokers, abstinent the morning before testing, were assessed under four conditions: placebo chewing gum, 2 mg nicotine chewing gum, 4 mg nicotine gum, and cigarette smoking. Placebo gum was administered in the cigarette condition, while sham smoking occurred in the gum conditions. Pre-drug administration and post-drug difference scores were calculated for each assessment measure: rapid visual information processing (RVIP), memory for new information, and heart rate. Nicotine raised heart rate in a significant monotonic dose-related manner (P<0.001): placebo +0.2; 2 mg gum +5.1; 4 mg gum +9.8; cigarette +17.5 bpm. Rapid visual information processing target detections were also significantly related to dose (P<0.01), with this increased vigilance significant under 4 mg nicotine gum and cigarette smoking. Memory task performance was not significantly affected. Self-reported feelings of alertness/energy were higher while smoking than under placebo or 4 mg gum. Complaints about the taste of the 4 mg nicotine gum were frequent.

Key words

Nicotine Smoking Psychological performance Attention Heart rate