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Crushing Cigarettes In A Virtual Reality Environment Reduces Tobacco Addiction

Date:
October 28, 2009
Source:
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News
Summary:
Smokers who crushed computer-simulated cigarettes as part of a psychosocial treatment program in a virtual reality environment had significantly reduced nicotine dependence and higher rates of tobacco abstinence than smokers participating in the same program who grasped a computer-simulated ball, according to a new study.
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Crushed cigarettes. Smokers who crushed computer-simulated cigarettes as part of a psychosocial treatment program in a virtual reality environment had significantly reduced nicotine dependence and higher rates of tobacco abstinence than smokers participating in the same program who grasped a computer-simulated ball.
Credit: iStockphoto/Paul Cowan

Smokers who crushed computer-simulated cigarettes as part of a psychosocial treatment program in a virtual reality environment had significantly reduced nicotine dependence and higher rates of tobacco abstinence than smokers participating in the same program who grasped a computer-simulated ball, according to a study described in the current issue of CyberPsychology and Behavior.

Benoit Girard, MD, Vincent Turcotte, and Bruno Girard, MBA, from the GRAP Occupational Psychology Clinic (Quebec, Canada), and Stéphane Bouchard, PhD, from the University of Quebec in Gatineau, randomly assigned 91 smokers enrolled in a 12-week anti-smoking support program to one of two treatment groups. In a computer-generated virtual reality environment, one group simulated crushing virtual cigarettes, while the other group grasped virtual balls during 4 weekly sessions.

The findings demonstrate a statistically significant reduction in nicotine addiction among the smokers in the cigarette-crushing group versus those in the ball-grasping group. Also, at week 12 of the program, the smoking abstinence rate was significantly higher for the cigarette-crushing group (15%) compared to the ball-grasping group (2%).

Other notable findings include the following: smokers who crushed virtual cigarettes tended to stay in the treatment program longer (average time to drop-out > 8 weeks) than the ball-grasping group (< 6 weeks). At the 6-month follow-up, 39% of the cigarette crushers reported not smoking during the previous week, compared to 20% of the ball graspers.

"It is important to note that this study increased treatment retention. All too often individuals drop out of treatment prior to completion. It will be interesting now to go further and compare this to other popular treatments such as the nicotine patch," says Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCIA, Editor-in-Chief of CyberPsychology and Behavior, from the Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, CA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Girard et al. Crushing Virtual Cigarettes Reduces Tobacco Addiction and Treatment Discontinuation. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 2009; 12 (5): 477 DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2009.0118

Cite This Page:

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News. "Crushing Cigarettes In A Virtual Reality Environment Reduces Tobacco Addiction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091027161539.htm>.
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News. (2009, October 28). Crushing Cigarettes In A Virtual Reality Environment Reduces Tobacco Addiction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091027161539.htm
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News. "Crushing Cigarettes In A Virtual Reality Environment Reduces Tobacco Addiction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091027161539.htm (accessed April 27, 2015).

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