Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Thomas Brandon


Cigarettes, Craving, Food Prime, Restrained Eating, Tobacco



Rates of smoking are elevated in eating-disordered populations, especially among females (Pomerleau & Snedecor, 2008; Klesges & Klesges, 1988). Restrained eaters ignore physiological cues of satiation and hunger, and instead attempt to employ cognitive control over decisions to eat. Additionally, they are prone to eat in a disinhibited manner after a salient emotional or food cue interrupts their restraint. This eating style is also associated with increased rates of smoking compared with the general population. Although there is a great deal of literature on the relationship between smoking and eating, the role of eating in momentary decisions regarding smoking remains to be explored. The current study tested whether a food prime, which has been found to elicit disinhibited eating in restrained eaters, could also motivate smoking as an alternative to eating. In a randomized two-arm (Prime/No-Prime) between-subjects design, it was hypothesized that smokers, particularly those high in eating restraint, receiving a food prime would be more likely to smoke than eat when given the option, compared to smokers who did not receive the food prime. Although main effects on smoking variables were not found, restraint status did moderate the effect of the food prime upon latency to first puff, number of puffs, and cigarette craving. Moreover, the moderation effect was reversed upon eating variables, suggesting that after a food prime, weight-control smokers appear to choose to smoke to prevent further food intake. This conclusion was bolstered by the finding that the moderation effect on smoking was further moderated by expectancies regarding the effect of smoking upon appetite and weight. In summary, this study identified psychological mechanisms that appear to underlie the population-based covariance between disordered eating and smoking.

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