which was surprisingly found to be true in a recent research study published by the American Psychological Association. Purposefully inhaling a pleasant aroma may be enough to reduce the urge to light up a smoke, at least temporarily, and could be used as part of an effective smoking cessation strategy.
"Despite disappointing relapse rates, there have been few new approaches to smoking cessation in general and to craving relief in particular," said lead author Michael Sayette, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh. "Using pleasant odors to disrupt smoking routines would offer a distinct and novel method for reducing cravings, and our results to this end are promising."
Wow it's almost like we've been too focused on the health benefits of vaping and should have been paying more attention to the simple aesthetics of the pleasant aromas produced in vaping eLiquids. Silly us, focusing in on saving lives instead of trying to make the general smell of air pleasant.
While smoking rates have fallen over the past 50 years, almost directly correlating with the increase in vaping, unfortunately about 40 million Americans still smoke, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Naturally most adult smokers want to quit with half of those reporting the desire to quit attempting to do so in the past year, unfortunately half of those who try relapse within two weeks. "Even with nicotine replacement, relapse is common. New interventions are urgently needed to help the millions who wish to quit but are unable" according to Sayette.
The researchers recruited 232 smokers, ages 18 to 55, who were not trying to quit at the time and were not using any other nicotine delivery system, such as gum or vaping. They were asked not to smoke for eight hours prior to the experiment and were required to bring a pack of their preferred cigarettes and a lighter with them. Because you know, it's unethical to provide the smokes and lighter, but totally on the up and up if you ask your research participants to do so.
Upon arrival, the people first smelled and rated a number of different odors generally considered to be pleasant, as well as one unpleasant chemical odor, tobacco from the participant's preferred brand of cigarettes and one item with no odor at all. They were then asked to light a cigarette and hold it in their hands, but not smoke it. After 10 seconds, the participants verbally rated their urge to smoke on a scale of 1 to 100.
The participants then opened a container that held either the scent they had rated most pleasurable, the scent of tobacco or no scent and sniffed it once before again rating their urge to smoke. They continued to sniff the container they were given for the next five minutes, rating their urge to smoke every 60 seconds.
The average craving score just after lighting the cigarette was 82. Regardless of what odor they smelled, all participants experienced a decreased urge to smoke after sniffing the container, but the average craving scores for those who smelled pleasant odors dropped significantly more than those who smelled tobacco or received the blank. For those that smelled the pleasant order the drop was 19 points, those who smelled the tobacco, about 12 points, and the non-odorous container was about 11 points.
The researchers were not surprised by the findings, as they confirmed and extended results from a much smaller, exploratory study they had previously conducted. "These days, replicating prior findings is not something I take for granted, and extending the research by showing that we can maintain the effect for as long as five minutes suggests it might offer enough time for a smoker to decide to avoid or leave their high-risk situation" according to Sayette.
Sayette believes that part of why pleasant aromas achieved a greater reduction in cravings, may work by distracting smokers from thoughts of their craving to memories linked to these olfactory cues, but he thinks more research would need to be done to confirm his hypothesis.
What do you think about this study? Is this a big "no duh!" to those of us in the vaping world? Isn't it weird how they want to go after flavor when this very study proves that pleasant smell alone can aid in smoking cessation?