Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research Volume 6, Number 1 (February 2004) 39–47. Copyright 2004 Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. Used by permission.


Cigarette craving has been linked to elevated negative and positive moods, but a connection to deficient positive affect has not been studied. We tested whether a low hedonic capacity predicts a heightened urge to smoke after acute nicotine deprivation, and whether such an effect is mediated by decreased positive mood or increased negative mood. A total of 35 smokers characterized for individual differences in hedonic capacity were deprived of nicotine for 48 hr. Using mixed-effects regression modeling, we found that lower hedonic capacity predicted greater increases in craving 24 hr after nicotine withdrawal, t(29)=-22.33, p=-.03. The effect of hedonic capacity on increased 24-hr postquit craving to smoke was fully mediated by decreased positive affect. Findings suggest that in early nicotine withdrawal, smokers with diminished capacity to experience pleasure have heightened susceptibility to cigarette cravings that arises because of decreased positive mood rather than increased negative mood.