Background: Decreased sensitivity to pleasant stimuli is associated with a higher vulnerability to nicotine dependence in youths and with difficulty quitting in adult smokers. Recently, we showed that smokers showing lower brain reactivity to non-cigarette-related pleasant images than to cigarette-related ones have lower chances of achieving long-term abstinence during a quit attempt. Methods: We tested whether individual differences in brain responses to cigarette-related and pleasant stimuli require a long history of smoking to develop by measuring the late positive potential (LPP) to cigarette cues, emotional, and neutral stimuli in 45 young, light smokers (ages 18-25). k-means cluster analysis was used to partition smokers into two groups based on the magnitude of their LPPs. Results: Group 1 was characterized by larger LPPs to pleasant pictures than cigarette-related pictures whereas Group 2 showed the opposite pattern. Conclusions: Our results suggest that individual differences in brain responses to cigarette-related and pleasant cues do not require a long smoking history to develop.
- Young adults