Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology


Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

Dominic Valentino


The purpose of the present study was to provide a further test of the nicotine addiction theory. It was designed to determine the extent to which smokers regulate plasma nicotine levels and smoking behavior in response to varying nicotine yields. More specifically, it was designed to assess differences between heavy and light smokers in nicotine regulation. Age differences were also explored. The effects of varying nicotine yield (high and low nicotine dose) was measured in 19 male smokers (10 heavy smokers and 9 light smokers) on the following dependent variables: smoking behavior (puff frequency, intensity, duration and volume), ANS physiological measures (heart rate and peripheral skin temperature), subjective states (nicotine craving and withdrawal), plasma nicotine and carboxyhemoglobin levels. Urinary pH was also measured. Subjects attended two one-hour smoking sessions in which an opportunity to smoke a cigarette was provided every 10 minutes. Statistical analyses on all dependent variables were performed using an Analysis of Variance with Repeated Measures Design. Results showed no evidence for nicotine regulation at the pharmacological level, however, there was strong support for behavioral regulation. Heavy and light smokers responded in a similar fashion on most all of the dependent variables. There were some age differences in smoking style characterized by a greater puff frequency for older smokers. It was concluded that nicotine regulation at the plasma nicotine level may be a long-term process which is not amenable to short-term study.



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