Almost every smoker on Earth says he wants to quit smoking, but can`t. And it`s not because they don`t try, most of them are willing to go to great length to kick the habit and many of them pay a lot of money too.
To their aid come two new studies meant to help people put the butt down for good!
The first one of the two studies revealed what goes on in a smoker`s brain and proved just why it`s so difficult for smokers to simply quit.
MRI scans of the brain of people who smoke showed that an area in their brain, called the insula, simply lights up at the sight or smell of cigarettes or tobacco smoke and sends an important urge to light up a cigarette.
The insula is an area of the brain full of neuron connections and it`s job is to regulate needs and urges. Some people have a more developed insula than other, which is also the reason why some people have an easier time ditching bad habits.
This was confirmed by the study conducted by Joseph McClernan, a psychiatry and behavioral sciences professor at Duke University School of Medicine. McClernan scan the brain of 85 persons who smoke and for 30 days, people were randomly given permission to smoke their favorite brands of cigarettes or a low-nicotine version coupled with nicotine therapy.
After the 30 days had passed, they asked the smokers to quit for 10 weeks and gave them only nicotine replacement therapy. All those who couldn`t helped themselves and smoked showed a lower activity in their insula.
Thanks to this study, scientists can now figure out which will have a harder time quitting smoking and will be able to provide them with more advanced tools in order to succeed.
The other study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the best way to get people to stop smoking and not relapse is: Money!
What they did in this study, was they gave people willing to quit smoking, free access to nicotine replacement and cognitive behavioral therapy. They also created an individual reward system which gave each person the opportunity to win up to $800 if they did not relapse for six months.
There was also another group in the study, which was asked to make a deposit of $150 and if they managed to keep away from smoking for six months, then they got their money back.
It should come as no surprise that most people were interested in entering the first group, which is the group who could earn $800 by not smoking. Apparently no one is willing to bet on their will to quit smoking.
The results of the study revealed that people found the money an incentive good enough to give up smoking and scientists are now trying to figure out how they could implement this reward system into actual smoke quitting programs.
It may sound like a pricey method to get people to stop smoking, but if medical expenses for the diseases that a smoker develops later in life are taken into account, then $800 does not seem like such a large sum of money anymore.
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