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Smokers may differ in their cravings for smoking

A brain scan study of the smokers reveals that the smokers may differ in their cravings// for a smoke depending on their brain’s sensitivity to smoking.

Researchers have found that the urge to smoke after a period of abstinence will vary in smokers according to the brain responses to the smoking habit. Researchers from the Duke University Medical Center had looked into the brain images of smokers in a bid to study the differential responses to quitting smoking.

Although nicotine cravings are considered to be at the root of not being able to quit smoking, recent research suggests that conditioned response to various sensory cues like presentation of visuals, or smelling of tobacco can also set the stage of continuous smoking for smokers who are not able to quit. In the new research scientists have found that those who can abstain from smoking for long hours, even after viewing smoking related visuals, showed more stable brain responses than the other smokers who felt the urge to smoke on seeing the same visuals.

The research suggests that people may differ in their tendencies to react to drugs, as their brain views the sensory cues differently. The researchers feel that this discovery may lead to differential use of quitting procedures for smokers depending on their brain responses.

Reference: Neuropsychopharmacology, online edition, June 2005

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