Smoking: More habit than addiction

July 19, 2010 at 1:51 AM
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TEL AVIV, Israel, July 19 (UPI) -- Israeli researchers say cigarette cravings may be more a result of habit rather than addiction.

Researchers from Tel Aviv University suggest their study finding may help explain why nicotine patches and gum are often ineffective but psychologically based smoking cessation programs can be successful.

The study, published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, concluded the intensity of cravings for cigarettes has more to do with psychosocial elements of smoking than with the physiological effects of nicotine.

"These findings might not be popular with advocates of the nicotine addiction theory, because they undermine the physiological role of nicotine and emphasize mind over matter when it comes to smoking," Dr. Reuvan Dar, the study leader, said in a statement.

Dar and colleagues monitored the craving levels of flight attendants -- both women and men -- during a long flight of 10-13 hours, as well as shorter two-hop trips where each leg lasted 3-5 hours. They found flight duration had no significant impact on craving levels. In fact, craving levels at the end of each short flight were higher than those at the end of the long flight, the study determined.

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