New hope for quitting smoking, forever!

How many of us at this moment, wish more than -absolutely- anything, that we could quit smoking right this instant? I do. Cigarette smoking is just as or more addictive than heroin.. Does raising the prices, changing the names and hiding them out of sight in the variety store change anything? Not much. Has anything worked for you in the past, permanently?

My most successful quit was for about 5years maybe.. I am almost certain that that ‘off-time’ started out with Acupuncture in various bodily spots then little stick on / plug in bits in the ears on the ‘craving centers’ to go. Instructions: press the pins when you get cravings.. I was working at one of my least favourite places at the time, depressed, Hot and sticky in typical .ON summer.. what seemed like the absolute worst conditions to stop smoking.. My best friend at the time (20yrs ago) lasted about 5 months, which was still incredible based on his previous habit. I managed a few years. I know it is time again to end the habit for good (at least another 5yr stretch) .. that little inhaler device looks like a good way to go.. It’s funny, I think I can still locate the points in the ears.. I wonder if any of the 1000’s of little computer screws lying about would do the trick?? hehe.. maybe trepannation while I’m at it.
The article below has good news for our chances at success and is extra interesting to me since I’ve had my poorly grounder 1st generation OCZ NIA plastered to my head on and off for the last 2 days diggings into some heavy EEG and Neural Network software to try and measure the frequencies of my negligible brain waves on good ol Ubuntu. Here is the article..

ScienceDaily (Aug. 3, 2010) — Standard therapeutic techniques decrease cravings of cigarette smokers by regulating activity in two separate but related areas of the brain, a new study led by a Yale University researcher shows.

Smokers who are taught cognitive strategies, such as thinking about the long-term consequences of smoking, show increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with cognitive control and rational thought. They also show decreased activity in areas of the striatum, an area of the brain associated with drug craving and reward-seeking behavior, according to the paper published online Aug. 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“This shows that smokers can indeed control their cravings, they just need to be told how to do it,” said Hedy Kober, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and lead author of the paper.

Cravings are the triggers that often lead to relapse in a host of addictions, which carry a staggering economic and social cost. Cigarette smoking alone is responsible for over 400,000 deaths per year in the U.S. (more than all illicit drugs and alcohol combined). Some experts predict that substance abusers should show impairments in areas of the prefrontal cortex, which among other functions helps control emotion. But in smokers at least, this does not appear to be the case. This area of the brain showed increased activity — and smokers reported less intense cravings — when using cognitive strategies.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be an effective tool in treating a variety of mental health disorders, including substance use disorders. The new study shows why this approach is effective, Kober said.

“We do not see any impairment in the prefrontal cortex, which suggests the brain is able, when prompted, to recruit control regions to reduce cravings,” Kober said.

Kober and colleagues are investigating whether they can replicate the findings in subjects who use other types of drugs.

The senior author of the paper is Kevin Ochsner of Columbia University. Researchers from Princeton University, the University of Michigan, and the New York State Psychiatric Institute also contributed to the paper. The work was funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Yale University.
Yale University (2010, August 3). Our brain can be taught to control cravings, new researcher finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 15, 2010, from­ /releases/2010/08/100802151317.htm