During the experiment, experts asked smokers to rate their desire to smoke on a scale from 1 to 100, while they were exposed to various odors. It was found that when inhaling favorite smells, craving for smoking was minimal, because these smells were associated with pleasant memories. Experts hope that the results can be part of strategies to combat smoking.
“Even with nicotine replacement, relapse is common,” says Dr. Michael Sayette. “New interventions are urgently needed to help millions of people who want to quit smoking but cannot. Using pleasant smells is an excellent method for reducing cravings for cigarettes, and our results are very promising. ”
The study involved 232 smokers aged 18 to 55 years who did not try to quit smoking at the time and did not receive nicotine in another way, for example, through chewing gum. Subjects were asked not to smoke for 8 hours prior to the experiment. Next, participants breathed in a number of different smells that are usually considered pleasant — for example, chocolate, apple, mint, lemon, and vanilla. Then volunteers were asked to take a cigarette in their hands and evaluate their desire to smoke on a scale from 1 to 100. According to the data obtained, people who inhaled their favorite flavors experienced a less pronounced need for smoking. Scientists believe that pleasant smells can distract smokers from cigarettes, reminding them of moments from the past associated with certain smells. For example, peppermint reminded some smokers of the children's Christmas holidays held at their grandparents' home.
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According to experts, it is necessary to conduct additional research to confirm that odors reduce craving for smoking, and find out how this strategy can be useful in real life.