The effects of acute doses of nicotine on video lottery terminal gambling in daily smokers

Abstract

AB Rationale: 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. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the acute effects of nicotine on subjective and behavioral gambling responses. Methods: 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. Results: 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). Conclusions: 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.

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