Behavioral economic analysis of cue-elicited craving for tobacco
Acker, John Daniel
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Behavioral economics in psychology affords the ability to gauge drug consumption as a function of escalating drug prices. The present study tested two hypotheses: (i) the presentation of virtual reality-based tobacco cues would result in significant increases in subjective tobacco craving and tobacco demand, and, (ii) aspects of tobacco demand would be significantly associated with smoking behavior during a self-administration paradigm. Following the presentation of tobacco cues, statistically significant changes in tobacco craving and the tobacco demand indices of Omax (i.e., maximum expenditure), Elasticity (i.e., price sensitivity), and Breakpoint (i.e., price at which consumption is suppressed) were observed. Statistically significant positive associations were observed between number of cigarettes purchased and the indices of Omax and Elasticity. Regression analyses revealed the index of Elasticity to incrementally predict number of cigarettes purchased, above and beyond subjective tobacco craving. The results are discussed in relation to previous investigations and recommendations for future studies.