The impact of three economic factors on cigarette procurement and consumption

Suzanne H. Mitchell, Harriet De Wit, James P. Zacny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This experiment examined the effects of three economic variables on the number of cigarettes earned in nicotine dependent cigarette smokers: (i) the 'price' of the cigarettes, (ii) the magnitude of an alternative, monetary reinforcer, and (iii) the 'openness' of the cigarette economy. In a laboratory study, smokers earned cigarettes and money by responding on two concurrent random-ratio schedules. Varying the number of responses required on the cigarette schedule varied cigarette price within sessions. Varying the amount of money that could be earned on the money schedule varied the magnitude of the monetary reinforcer between sessions. Varying the number of 'free' cigarettes provided after the task varied openness of the cigarette economy between sessions. Analyses revealed that fewer cigarettes were earned as the price of cigarettes increased, and this effect was more pronounced when the alternative monetary reinforcer was large and when free cigarettes were available. We conclude that the decline in the number of cigarettes earned as cigarette price increased was directly related to the availability of substitutes for the earned cigarettes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-266
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Psychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioral economics
  • Cigarettes
  • Elasticity of demand
  • Humans
  • Open/closed economy
  • Random-ratio schedules
  • Reinforcer magnitude
  • Self-administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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