Several forms of treatment for nicotine dependence that combine the classical smoking cessation strategies with new Virtual Reality (VR) exposure techniques to smoking-related cues are in development. In this line, the main goal of our study was to develop a virtual platform in order to induce cravings in smokers. Sixty undergraduate students were randomly assigned to two different virtual environments (high-arousal cues and low-arousal cues). Both environments were based on a three-room apartment with commercial music playing and virtual characters interacting in a social event. The assessment was carried out before and after exposure through psychophysiological activation and self-report data for craving and nicotine dependence levels. No statistical differences were observed between smokers and non-smokers in psychophysiological activation. As far as self-report data is concerned, smokers revealed a significant increase in craving after the VR exposure to high arousal environments. Overall results were in line with previous studies suggesting the use of virtual environments as a tool for the existing smoking cessation programs.
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