Contrary to popular belief, smokers who quit or abstain for whatever reason do not generally turn their eyes towards mouth-watering food, a new study revealed. The researchers at University at Buffalo said that smoking abstinence may not be linked with the motivation to eat. The study was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
"We found that the motivations for cigarettes, food and water do not interact very much," said Stephen Tiffany from the university's department of psychology.
"The results suggest that smoking abstinence does not affect the motivation for food and water".
For the study, researchers used cues and actual money to learn how much smokers might spend for cigarettes, food and water during abstinence.
The findings showed different systems control motivation and reward. Food no matter how lip-smacking it is, does not become more appealing during those times when a smoker is in a smoke-free environment or otherwise can't smoke.
"If you're on an airplane and can't smoke, you're not likely to be spending more money than usual on snacks," said Tiffany.
For the small-scale study examined 50 participants, all smokers who had abstained for 12 hours, and had money to spend on their choices.The participants sat in front of a box with a sliding door. Inside the box was one of three items: their favourite brand of cigarette, a candy bar they previously acknowledged as liking, or a cup of water.
It was observed that non-abstinent smokers spent more money for cigarettes than for food. And more money for food than for water. Abstinent smokers spent even more for cigarettes, but they didn't spend for food or for water.
"When people are abstinent from cigarettes their craving tends to go up, but they don't become hypersensitive to the cue," said Tiffany.
People don't relapse randomly. They relapse in the presence of opportunities to use which can be triggered by cues, the researchers noted.
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