Description: Despite its well-established negative effects, environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure remains highly prevalent worldwide. ETS exposure is associated with a wide range of physical and mental health-related problems among youth, including an increased likelihood to develop nicotine dependence. Up till now, neurocognitive effects of ETS exposure are largely unknown, while such effects could explain the role of ETS exposure in the development of nicotine dependence. Therefore, the present pre-registered study investigated the role of ETS exposure in brain functioning associated with smoking cue-reactivity and inhibitory control. Concurrent with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), non-smoking adolescents aged 14-18 years (N=51) performed a smoking cue-reactivity task, which assessed brain functioning to smoking cues, and a Go/NoGo task measuring inhibitory control. ETS exposure was measured using a self-report questionnaire and biochemically verified with cotinine levels in saliva. No significant associations were observed between ETS exposure and brain functioning associated with smoking cue-reactivity and inhibitory control or inhibitory control accuracy. These findings suggest that low to moderate levels of ETS exposure are not associated with increased salience of smoking cues or deficits in inhibitory control in non-smoking adolescents. Longitudinal research is needed to further clarify the exact effect of lifetime ETS exposure on brain functioning, as well as research focusing on the effects of higher levels of ETS exposure.
Related article: http://doi.org/10.1159/000512891
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