Αn abundance of research has demonstrated that substance addicted individuals, when they are exposed to a substance related stimulus, show a positive correlation between physiological measurements, such as an increase in heart rate and sweating, and behavioral reactions, that include craving and substance use or consumption. Films depicting smoking behavior are regarded as cues to induce smoking behavior. The current study aimed to investigate the effects of smoking behavior portrayed in movies on actual craving experienced by smokers who watch on screen actors consume tobacco products. In addition, the effects of receiving orally administered nicotine (chewing gum), a regular chewing gum or no additional intervention were examined. In particular, the study aimed to investigate how these factors impact nicotine craving as well as the heart rate and sweating. The majority of the participants were University of Bedfordshire students and staff. Thirty smokers (12 males and 18 females) having received a nicotine gum, a regular chewing gum or no gum, were exposed to a digital video clip showing actors smoking. The participants chose the type of chewing gum they wanted. Heart rate (HR) and galvanic skin response (GSR) were measured during the course of the experiment. Prior to and after watching the movie clip participants completed the Brief Questionnaire of Smoking Urges (QSU-Brief) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). According to the results, the craving was increased when compared to the baseline score (t=–3.76, p<0.001). Additionally, a correlation was found between the baseline level of craving and perceived stress before and after the movie (r=0.39). Nicotine chewing gum was found to have a significant impact on participants’ heart rate (p<0.05) but not on GSR. A significant difference was found in participants in the normal chewing gum condition reporting higher levels of craving than the other two groups (p<0.05). Age was found to positively related to post-measures of nicotine craving which was found to be higher for young respondents (r=–0.47, p<0.01). The data further show that the depiction of smoking behavior in the media is likely to have a significant impact on smoking craving, smoking behavior and nicotine consumption. The current study confirms and replicates some of the previous findings within the field of smoking behavior and nicotine craving such as high susceptibility of younger adults to media influence.
Key words: Film clips, galvanic skin response, heart rate, smoking craving, stress.
P. Kasdovasilis, V. Alikari, S. Zyga, A. Guppy, P. Theofilou (page 226)