Background: Mesolimbic and nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathways play important roles in both the rewarding and conditioning effects of drugs. The dopamine transporter (DAT) is of central importance in regulating dopaminergic neurotransmission and in particular in activating the striatal D-2-like receptors. Molecular imaging studies of the relationship between DAT availability/dopamine synthesis capacity and active cigarette smoking have shown conflicting results. Through the collaboration between 13 SPECT centres located in 10 different European countries, a database of FP-CIT-binding in healthy controls was established. We used the database to test the hypothesis that striatal DAT availability is changed in active smokers compared to non-smokers and ex-smokers.