Functional analysis and treatment of cigarette pica

Cathleen C. Piazza, Gregory P. Hanley, Wayne W. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


A series of analyses was conducted to assess and treat the pica of cigarette butts by a young man with mental retardation and autism. First, we demonstrated that pica was maintained in a condition with no social consequences when the available cigarettes contained nicotine but not when the cigarettes contained herbs without nicotine. Second, a choice assessment (Fisher et al., 1992) confirmed that tobacco was preferred over the other components of the cigarette (e.g., paper, filter, etc.). Third, an analogue functional analysis (Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, & Richman, 1982/1994) demonstrated that cigarette pica was maintained independent of social consequences. Fourth, a treatment designed to interrupt the hypothesized response-reinforcer relationship reduced consumption of cigarettes to zero. Finally, because cigarette pica occurred primarily when the individual was alone or under minimal supervision, a procedure based on stimulus control was developed to improve the effectiveness of the intervention in these situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-450
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Autism
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Functional analysis
  • Nicotine
  • Pica
  • Stimulus control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


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