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Study Probes Why Smokers Find It Hard to Quit
Date:9/9/2008

hree groups had to abstain from smoking for 12 hours before the second session started, and were asked to hold -- but not smoke -- a lit cigarette during the session.

When asked the money question in the second session, the "cold" smokers from the first session asked for significantly more money to delay smoking for just five minutes while those originally in a "hot" state did not request an increase.

Those from the "cold" group were also much less likely to accurately predict how much money they would need to delay lighting up. Almost half of the "cold" smokers requested more money than what they had initially predicted, while only 25 percent of the "hot" group did the same.

"These findings suggest that smokers are likely to underpredict their own future desire to smoke when they're not craving a cigarette," study co-author George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Economics and Psychology at Carnegie Mellon, said in the news release. "The research not only has implications for helping smokers quit, but it also enlightens us on how nonsmokers may pick up the habit. If smokers can't appreciate the intensity of their need to smoke when they aren't currently craving, what's the likelihood that people who have never smoked can do so?"

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about how to quit smoking.



-- Kevin McKeever



SOURCE: Carnegie Mellon University, news release, Aug. 26, 2008


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