Puff Topography Biofeedback on Smoking Reinforcement
There is clear evidence of health-disparity in the maintenance of smoking, such that smokers with emotional distress are more vulnerable to the reinforcing value of cigarettes and are less successful in quitting smoking. A novel biomarker in the emotional distress-smoking link is reinforcer pathology - the degree to which a drug reinforcer produces a reliable, instant, and intense rewarding effect. The reinforcing value of cigarette use is largely attributed to the ease and flexibility in which smokers can self-regulate drug administration by tailoring not only when they smoke, but how they smoke (i.e., “puff topography”). Puff topography affords precision in evaluating temporal components that drive reinforcer pathology: including reward immediacy, intensity, and persistence. Indeed, smokers with emotional distress demonstrate larger initial puff volumes and sustained puffing over the course of a cigarette, and change how they smoke in response to distress. Taken together, we propose to develop and test a puff topography biofeedback paradigm to attenuate reinforcer pathology in emotionally distressed smokers. Biofeedback involves providing smokers with real time feedback regarding puffing (when to inhale, the breath duration, exhale, and inter-puff interval), informed by physiological mechanisms that control self-regulation and stress reactivity.