Further Validation of a Cigarette Purchase Task for Assessing the Relative Reinforcing Efficacy of Nicotine in College Smokers


The authors sought to further validate a cigarette purchase task (CPT), a self-report analogue of a progressive-ratio operant schedule, for the assessment of the relative reinforcing efficacy (RRE) of nicotine in smokers. The measure was assessed in terms of its correspondence to typically observed operant behavior, convergent validity, and divergent validity. Participants were 33 individuals (58% male, age M = 19.30 years) who smoked at least weekly (M = 5.31 cigarettes/day) and underwent a single assessment session. Data from the CPT exhibited the predicted inverse relationship between consumption and price, the predicted relationship between consumption and expenditure, and a heterogeneous pattern of interrelationships among the indices of reinforcement. In addition, 2 indices from the measure, intensity of demand and maximum expenditure for cigarettes, exhibited robust convergent and divergent validity. Although this is an incipient research area and the current study used a relatively small sample, these findings support the validity of a CPT as a time- and cost-efficient method for assessing nicotine reinforcement. Theoretical implications of the findings, limitations, and future directions are also discussed. © 2008 American Psychological Association.

Publication Title

Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology