Cue-induced smoking urges deplete cigarette smokers' self-control resources

Martin S. HAGGER, Eamonn LEAVER, Kerstin ESSER, Chung-Ming LEUNG, Nina TE PAS, David A. KEATLEY, King Chung Derwin CHAN, Nikos L. D. CHATZISARANTIS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Exposure to smoking-related cues leads to increased urge to smoke in regular cigarette smokers and resisting these urges requires considerable self-control.

Purpose: Adopting a resource depletion model, two studies tested the hypothesis that resisting smoking urges depletes self-control resources.

Methods: Adopting a within-participants randomized cross-over design, participants (study 1, N = 19; study 2, N = 32) were exposed to smoking-related (study 1: smoking images; study 2: cigarette cue-exposure task) and neutral (study 1: neutral images; study 2: drinking-straw task) cues with presentation order randomized. After each cue set, participants completed self-control tasks (study 1: handgrip task; study 2: handgrip and Stroop tasks), performance on which constituted dependent measures of self-control.

Results: Self-control task performance was significantly impaired when exposed to smoking-related cues compared to neutral cues. No significant presentation-order effects, or interaction effects between stimulus and presentation order, were found.

Conclusions: Findings corroborate our hypothesis that resisting smoking urges depletes cigarette smokers' self-control resources and suggests that self-control capacity is governed by a limited resource. Copyright © 2013 The Society of Behavioral Medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-400
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
Early online dateMay 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


Hagger, M. S., Leaver, E., Esser, K., Leung, C.-M., Te Pas, N., Keatley, D. A., . . . Chatzisarantis, N. L. D. (2013). Cue-induced smoking urges deplete cigarette smokers' self-control resources. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 46(3), 394-400. doi: 10.1007/s12160-013-9520-8


  • Strength model
  • Self-regulation
  • Tobacco
  • Smoking urge
  • Dual-task procedure


Dive into the research topics of 'Cue-induced smoking urges deplete cigarette smokers' self-control resources'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.