Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Chart Nicotine Craving's Impact On Mental Skills

Date:
April 21, 1999
Source:
Center For The Advancement Of Health
Summary:
Smokers trying to quit have long known that going without cigarettes hampers their ability to concentrate, but now scientists are charting how this works. New research suggests that while abstinence increases a smoker's craving, it may harm smokers' performance on some mental tasks while leaving their performance on others unchanged.

Smokers trying to quit have long known that going without cigarettes hampers their ability to concentrate, but now scientists are charting how this works.

Related Articles


New research suggests that while abstinence increases a smoker's craving, it may harm smokers' performance on some mental tasks while leaving their performance on others unchanged.

"It is likely that craving and impaired concentration, in part, function to maintain smoking in nicotine-dependent individuals and to increase the probability that a smoker attempting to quit will relapse," says Stephen J. Heishman, PhD, of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Baltimore, and colleagues, reporting in the premier issue of the journal, Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

One of the more surprising findings reported is that when smokers abstain from cigarettes their reasoning skills do not seem to decrease, but when they resume smoking they actually appear to improve.

"A more complete understanding of tobacco craving and the influence of smoking on cognitive performance should enhance our ability to treat these symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, thereby increasing the probability of successful smoking cessation efforts," they write.

The investigators studied the effects of smoking and abstinence on 20 smokers who completed two computerized tests before and after smoking one afternoon and again after being deprived of cigarettes for 18 hours. The participants typically smoked 23 cigarettes daily and had been smoking for more than 17 years, on average.

In one test, smokers were instructed to find specific pairs of letters in a sequence of 20 other letters. The other test presented them with a series of letter pairs and statements and was designed to measure their ability to reason.

Responses revealed that the smokers' cravings for cigarettes increased significantly over the 18-hour abstinence. After they had been allowed to smoke again, however, their cravings subsided to the levels observed at the beginning of the study.

On the letter-search test, the smokers took longer to complete the task when deprived of cigarettes, but their speed improved to baseline levels after smoking. On the test of logical reasoning, however, performance did not decrease after abstinence, but actually improved after smoking. Neither smoking nor abstinence had any effect on smokers' accuracy on the two tasks.

The investigators were also surprised to find that performance on the logical reasoning test, the more difficult of the two, was not impaired when smokers were deprived of their cigarettes, despite clear evidence that their cravings had increased. It is possible, they say, that smokers' ability to maintain attention, necessary to complete the letter-search task, was more compromised by tobacco abstinence than was their ability to process verbal information, which was required in the logical reasoning test.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center For The Advancement Of Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Scientists Chart Nicotine Craving's Impact On Mental Skills." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990421073905.htm>.
Center For The Advancement Of Health. (1999, April 21). Scientists Chart Nicotine Craving's Impact On Mental Skills. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990421073905.htm
Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Scientists Chart Nicotine Craving's Impact On Mental Skills." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990421073905.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins