The effects of acute doses of nicotine on video lottery terminal gambling in daily smokers
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A growing body of evidence suggests that gambling frequently co-occurs with smoking, yet little is known about the degree to which nicotine and/or tobacco use influences gambling behavior. Nonetheless, an increasing number of studies suggest that acute administration of nicotine may alter other reinforcing behaviors in both animal and human models, raising the possibility that nicotine may also influence gambling behavior and craving.
The purpose of this study was to examine the acute effects of nicotine on subjective and behavioral gambling responses.
Twenty-eight (15 male) regular gamblers who smoke daily completed two double-blind laboratory sessions where their subjective and behavioral responses to video lottery terminal (VLT) gambling were assessed, following the administration of nicotine inhalers (NI; 4 mg deliverable) or placebo inhalers.
NI significantly decreased tobacco-related cravings (p < 0.05) but did not affect gambling-related cravings, VLT betting patterns, or subjective responses (ps > 0.1).
NI were found to acutely suppress tobacco-related cravings without influencing gambling. These results suggest that use of nicotine replacement therapies may be a safe option for gamblers who are attempting to quit smoking.
KeywordsNicotine Tobacco Gambling Drug Co-morbidity Addiction
The authors would like to acknowledge Lyndsay Bozec’s assistance with participant recruitment and phone screening. This work was supported by student research grants awarded to Daniel McGrath from the Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative and Gambling Awareness Nova Scotia. Daniel McGrath was funded by studentships from the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation and the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre during the completion of this research.
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