If you are trying to quit smoking, one method to incorporate is to do new, exciting “self-expanding” activities that can help with nicotine craving. This is the take-home message from a new study. “Our study reveals for the first time using brain imaging that engaging in exciting or what we call ‘self-expanding’ activities, such as puzzle-solving, games, or hobbies with one’s partner, appears to reduce craving for nicotine,” said one researcher.
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Source: Stony Brook University. “Want to quit smoking? New study says try ‘self-expanding’ activities.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2014.
In a recent study published in Tobacco Control, researchers at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute have demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation (OMSC), an intervention that includes in-hospital counseling, pharmacotherapy and post-hospital follow-up, compared to usual care among smokers hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction, unstable angina, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
In the first year, the researchers calculated that provision of the OMSC to 15,326 smokers would generate 4,689 quitters, and would prevent 116 re-hospitalizations, 923 hospital days, and 119 deaths. Results were robust within numerous sensitivity analyses. An important consideration is the relatively low intervention cost compared to the reduction in costs related to readmissions for illnesses associated with continued smoking.
An estimated $547 million is spent each year in Ontario on hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarction, unstable angina, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) alone. The study estimates that provision of the OMSC intervention to smokers admitted with these issues would represent 0.20% of this cost, yet could result in several individual and health system benefits and, in the case of COPD patients, could result in actual cost savings.
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Source: Medical News Today.
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Nicotine withdrawal triggers changes to the brain that help explain why smokers have such a tough time quitting, a new study suggests. Up to 80 percent of smokers who try to quit eventually start smoking again. This latest finding might lead to new ways to identify smokers who are at high risk for failure when they try to quit, the researchers said. The study might also lead to more intensive treatment to help smokers quit for good.
The researchers discovered that nicotine withdrawal weakens brain connections associated with the ability to control cravings for cigarettes.
Symptoms of withdrawal are related to changes in smokers’ brains, as they adjust to being off of nicotine,” study co-leader Caryn Lerman, head of the Brain and Behavior Change Program at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a university news release. “This study validates those experiences as having a biological basis.”
“The next step will be to identify in advance those smokers who will have more difficultly quitting and target [them with] more intensive treatments, based on brain activity and network connectivity,” she added.
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