Study says smokers are not addicted to nicotine
Craving for cigarettes is more to do with the mind than the addictive influence of nicotine. In other words, it is the psychological element of smoking that makes one addicted to cigarettes, a new study conducted by Israeli scientists has revealed.
The psychological element of smoking is the key factor deciding the intensity of craving for cigarettes in a smoker compared to the physiological effects of nicotine as an addictive chemical, says Dr. Reuven Dar of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Psychology.
“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,” says Dr. Dar, in his new study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
Dr. Reuven Dar and his colleagues reached these conclusions after analyzing the data from two landmark studies.
The researchers monitored smoking behavior and craving levels of in-flight attendants, both women and men, who worked at the Israeli airline El Al. They were monitored during two flights — a long flight of between 10 to 13 hours like Tel Aviv to New York and a two-hop shorter trip from Israel to Europe and back, each leg lasting three to five hours.
The study team then analyzed the responses of the El Al staff to a questionnaire and found that the duration of the flight had no significant impact on craving levels. In fact it was similar for short and long flights. Moreover, craving levels at the end of each short flight were much higher than those at the end of the long flight. This showed that cravings increased in anticipation of the flight landing, whatever the flight’s total duration.
Therefore, the craving effect is produced by psychological reasons rather than by the physiological effects of nicotine deprivation.
A similar study conducted in 2005 amongst religious Jews, forbidden by their religion to smoke on the Sabbath, also found nicotine to be not addictive as physiological addictions are usually defined.
Similar findings elsewhere were indeed not popular with advocates of the nicotine addiction theory:
The Non-Smokers’ Rights Association has filed a complaint with the Collège des médecins du Québec against a psychiatrist who testified this week at the ongoing hearings of two class action suits brought by Quebec smokers against three tobacco companies.
The complaint accuses Dominique Bourget, a forensic psychiatrist at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, of breaching the College’s ethics code by “minimizing the gravity of, if not denying the existence of, tobacco dependence” in her testimony and in a report she prepared for the proceedings.
In his complaint to the Collège, Quebec Director of the NSRA François Damphousse accuses Bourget of offering “specious and misleading arguments” in her report to the court and expressing doubt that nicotine can legitimately be considered an addictive drug.
Entirely unrelated, Japanese space agency shows that most CO2 is coming from tropical forest regions, not industrial nations.
So, if CO2 is so darn dangerous, perhaps we should chop down tropical forests?