Protocol - Cue Reactions to Tobacco Stimuli
This exercise is an interactive activity between a researcher and participant in which tobacco products are discussed and presented and the participant’s reactions to the stimuli are measured and recorded.
This protocol is conducted in a laboratory setting with appropriate smoke ventilation. Typically, the respondent sits in the laboratory and the researcher observes the assessment through a one-way mirror and communicates instructions to the respondent using an intercom system. Standard instructions may be pre-recorded and played via intercom, or read by the researcher.
Specific questionnaires can be added to the cue reactivity protocol based on the researcher’s specific interest.
Current smoking status must first be assessed as this protocol is administered only to current smokers.
The questionnaire to which the participant responds is the Brief Questionnaire for Smoking Urges (QSU Brief) and can be found in the PhenX Toolkit at Self-reported Craving - Specific - Tobacco
Cue Reactivity Script
Instructions: [Read to respondent, or pre-record and play over intercom]:
"For the next 5 minutes, please sit quietly and relax."
[Let 5 minutes elapse].
"Please take Folder #1 [contains study Brief]1, place it in front of you and open it. It is important that you clearly mark only one response for each line and that you choose a response for each line. Remember these questions (Self-reported Craving - Specific - Tobacco) are about how you’re feeling right now. When you have finished the questionnaire in this folder, place it inside the folder and [return the folder to the rack].2 Do you have any questions? If not, you can begin."
Neutral Cues Trial
Experimenter: Take tray containing neutral cues (a small notepad, pencil and eraser) into lab. These neutral cues are the control stimuli for the smoking cues below).
The stimuli are placed on a tray and covered with a box.
In person: "Now we’re ready to begin the next part of the study. In a moment I will give you instructions over the intercom".
From observation room, via intercom:
"Please remove the cover and place it to the side.
Please pick up the pencil. (8 seconds)
Hold and look at the pencil for the next few minutes. (10 seconds)
Pick up the eraser with your other hand.
Hold the pencil in front of you. (40 seconds)
Put the eraser down on the table. (5 seconds)
Hold the pencil and look at it for the next few minutes. (1 minute)
Please gently place the pencil and eraser back on the tray.
We’re going to continue with the questionnaires (Self-reported Craving - Specific - Tobacco). Now, please take Folder #2, place it in front of you.3 The instructions are the same as before. Remember, it is important that you clearly mark only one response for each line and that you choose a response for each line. These questions ask about how you’re feeling right now. When you have finished the questionnaire in this folder, place it inside the folder and [return the folder to the rack]. Do you have any questions? If not, you can begin."
[Once the participant completes the questionnaire, puts it in the folder and moves the folder out of the way]:
Smoking Cues Trial
Experimenter: Prepare tray with cigarette pack (opened), ashtray and lighter, cover stimuli with box. Take tray into lab. Remove neutral trial tray.
From observation room, via intercom:
"We are now ready to begin the next part of the study. Please remove the cover and place it to the side.
Pick up one of the cigarettes and hold the cigarette in whichever hand is comfortable. (8 seconds)
Pick up the lighter with your other hand.
Hold the cigarette in front of you and light the lighter. (10 seconds)
Hold the cigarette at a downward angle in front of you and put the tip of the cigarette in the lighter flame until the cigarette begins to burn.
Do not smoke or puff on the cigarette. (40 seconds)
Please re-light the cigarette if it goes out during this trial.
Put the lighter down on the table. (5 seconds)
Hold the cigarette as you usually would, and look at it for the next few minutes without smoking it. (1 minute)
Please gently put out the cigarette. Place the cigarette and lighter back on the tray.
Now, take Folder #3 and place it in front of you.3 This is the same questionnaire as before (Self-reported Craving - Specific - Tobacco). Remember to answer it for how you are feeling right now. When you finish, [place the folder back in the rack]."
1The specific text can vary based on your specific research question.
2This is study specific and may be modified based on lab specific set up.
3This is study specific material and can be adapted at the researcher’s discretion.
Protocol Name from Source:
Personnel and Training Required
Research assistant to be trained in conducting laboratory protocol.
Smoking laboratory with appropriate ventilation, one-way mirror for observation, intercom system for delivery of instructions, clock or timepiece.
Optional: Depending on the research question, physiological recording (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate) is sometimes used throughout the session.
|Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection||No|
|Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual||Yes|
Mode of Administration
Adults (18 and older) and adolescents (13 to 19 years old)
This laboratory assessment has been widely used to assess reactivity to cigarettes in a standardized way. It has been validated for use with adolescent and adult smokers and (for comparison) nonsmokers.
|Common Data Elements (CDE)||Tobacco Product Stimulus Reaction Assessment Text||4719196||CDE Browser|
Process and Review
Bidwell, L. C., Leventhal, A. M., Tidey, J. W., Brazil, L., Niaura, R. S., & Colby, S. M. (2013). Effects of abstinence in adolescent tobacco smokers: Withdrawal symptoms, urge, affect, and cue reactivity. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 15(2), 457-464.
Sayette M. A. & Hufford M. R. (1994). Effects of cue exposure and deprivation on cognitive resources in smokers. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103(4):812-818.
Carter B. L. & Tiffany, S. T. (1999). Meta-analysis of cue-reactivity in addiction research. Addiction. 94(3):327-340. (Review of a variety of cue reactivity protocols)
|Variable Name||Variable ID||Variable Description||dbGaP Mapping|
|PX720501020000||Participant's reactions to the stimuli by more||N/A|
|PX720501010000||Participant's reactions to the stimuli by more||N/A|
|PX720501030000||Participant's reactions to the stimuli by more||N/A|
Cue Reactions to Tobacco Stimuli
February 20, 2015
Cue reactivity comprises the physiological and subjective reactions to presentations of cigarette and neutral stimuli.
This protocol measures a tobacco user’s responses to tobacco products.
Withdrawal symptoms, urge, affect, cue reactivity, abstinence effects, smoking abstinence, reactive irritability, smoking urges, affect, responses to smoking cues, reaction