Although previous research has demonstrated that individuals with parents who smoke are more likely to become smokers and are less successful in smoking cessation efforts compared with those without a smoking parent, the reasons for this link have not been established. In the current study, implicit attentional bias to smoking-related cues was investigated in college-age smokers, based on models of addiction that suggest that attention to drug-related cues plays an important role in drug addiction. Sixty-one participants completed a dot-probe task to measure attentional bias to smoking-related and matched non-smoking-related control pictures. Results indicated that while those who reported smoking occasionally did not demonstrate an attentional bias, daily smokers who had a smoking parent showed more of an attentional bias to the smoking cues than those without a smoking parent, but only to cues that did not contain human content. In addition to parental influence, nicotine dependence explained a significant portion of the variance in the attentional bias for daily smokers. Implications for models of nicotine addiction and the development of smoking cessation programs are discussed.
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Dickter, Cheryl L. and Forestell, Catherine A., Peering through the smoke: The effect of parental smoking behavior and addiction on daily smokers' attentional bias to smoking cues (2012). Addictive Behaviors, 37(2), 187-192.