Rationale: Previous studies suggest that craving for cigarettes is substantially influenced by non-nicotine mechanisms such as habits, cues, and expectations. As orthodox Jews must refrain from smoking during the Sabbath, examining their craving levels during this habitual abstinence may be informative in separating smoking deprivation from other determinants of craving and withdrawal. Objective: To examine the extent to which the habitual abstinence of Orthodox Jews during the Sabbath is associated with craving to smoke and with other reactions to smoking abstinence. Methods: Twenty orthodox Jewish heavy smokers were assessed three times: on a workday when smoking as usual, on a Sabbath when they never smoke, and on a forced abstinence workday. Craving, irritability, and other commonly reported smoking withdrawal symptoms were assessed retrospectively at several time points during the preceding 24 h. Results: Craving to smoke, and to a lesser extent, irritability, was lower during the Sabbath than during the two other test days. Self-reported difficulty in abstaining was also lower on the Sabbath than on the workday. Craving in the evening preceding the test day was always significantly higher than in the next morning, despite the overnight abstinence before the morning assessment. Conclusions: These results support previous findings in showing that craving to smoke is determined to a large extent by smoking-related habits, cues, and expectations.
- Smoking abstinence