Psychopharmacology

, Volume 146, Issue 4, pp 447–454

Impulsivity and cigarette smoking: delay discounting in current, never, and ex-smokers

  • W. K. Bickel
  • A. L. Odum
  • G. J. Madden
Original Investigation

DOI: 10.1007/PL00005490

Cite this article as:
Bickel, W., Odum, A. & Madden, G. Psychopharmacology (1999) 146: 447. doi:10.1007/PL00005490

Abstract 

Rationale: Impulsivity is implicated in drug dependence. Recent studies show problems with alcohol and opioid dependence are associated with rapid discounting of the value of delayed outcomes. Furthermore, discounting may be particularly steep for the drug of dependence. Objectives: We determined if these findings could be extended to the behavior of cigarette smokers. In particular, we compared the discounting of hypothetical monetary outcomes by current, never, and ex-smokers of cigarettes. We also examined discounting of delayed hypothetical cigarettes by current smokers. Methods: Current cigarette smokers (n=23), never-smokers (n=22) and ex-smokers (n=21) indicated preference for immediate versus delayed money in a titration procedure that determined indifference points at various delays. The titration procedure was repeated with cigarettes for smokers. The degree to which the delayed outcomes were discounted was estimated with two non-linear decay models: an exponential model and a hyperbolic model. Results: Current smokers discounted the value of delayed money more than did the comparison groups. Never- and ex-smokers did not differ in their discounting of money. For current smokers, delayed cigarettes lost subjective value more rapidly than delayed money. The hyperbolic equation provided better fits to the data than did the exponential equation for 74 out of 89 comparisons. Conclusions: Cigarette smoking, like other forms of drug dependence, is characterized by rapid loss of subjective value for delayed outcomes, particularly for the drug of dependence. Never- and ex-smokers could discount similarly because cigarette smoking is associated with a reversible increase in discounting or due to selection bias.

Key words Delay discounting Impulsivity Drug abuse Cigarette Nicotine 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. K. Bickel
    • 1
  • A. L. Odum
    • 1
  • G. J. Madden
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, 38 Fletcher Place, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05401, USA e-mail: Warren.Bickel@uvm.edu, Fax: +1-802-656-9628US

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