One of the many side effects of smoking cigarettes is that the person loses appetite. But, if a recent study on ‘comparing the reward value of cigarettes and food during tobacco abstinence and non-abstinence’ published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence is to be believed, smoking abstinence may not be linked with the motivation to eat.
“We found with this sample in this study that the motivations for cigarettes, food and water do not interact very much. The results suggest that smoking abstinence does not affect the motivation for food and water”, said Stephen Tiffany, Empire Innovation Professor, UB’s Department of Psychology in the university’s College of Arts and Sciences.
According to reports, the participants in this study were not trying to quit smoking, and the findings don’t speak as to how trying to quit would influence these motivations. The food does not become more appealing during those times when the participants can’t smoke.
“If you’re on an aeroplane and can’t smoke you’re not likely to be spending more money than usual on snacks. We found that the motivations for cigarettes, food and water do not interact very much. The results suggest that smoking abstinence does not affect the motivation for food and water,” added Tiffany.
“Unlike many previous studies, people in this study were spending real money, getting real food and cigarettes, and they had real, immediate chances to sample these items”, Jennifer Betts, the study’s co-author and a graduate student in UB’s psychology department.
This study indicated that motivation was greater for cigarettes than food. Abstinence increased motivation for cigarettes but had little impact on motivation for food. This suggests that heavy smokers do not reallocate motivational resources towards cigarettes during abstinence; rather, motivational processes for food remain constant from non-abstinent to abstinent sessions.