A new study from Tel Aviv University (published at American Friends Tel Aviv University and republished at Science Daily) shows why many Nicotine Replacement Therapies such as nicotine gum and patches are ineffective.  Not surprisingly to many e-smokers, the study found that the actual habit of smoking was the root of their urge to smoke, not necessarily any addiction to nicotine.  This flies in the face of the anti-smoking advocates who have been pushing pharmaceutical quit smoking aids for the past decades.

The study never mentions electronic cigarettes, which allow smokers to continue the action of “smoking” without any actual smoke. But it does give validity to what electronic cigarette users have been saying; I like to smoke, but I don’t like smoke.

Electronic cigarettes don’t help people quit smoking, they only change the habit. This may not be good enough for some anti-smoking groups, but seems to be right on target for many of the smokers who have struggled with giving up the habit. And since there is no published (or even anecdotal) evidence that the vapor from electronic cigarettes harms bystanders or the user, it is easy to see why smokers have been flocking to this new technology.

Of course the Dr. behind the study, Dr. Reuven Dar of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Psychology, would like to see the results used to formulated better strategies for helping smokers quit the habit:

Dr. Dar believes that understanding smoking as a habit, not an addiction, will facilitate treatment. Smoking cessation techniques should emphasize the psychological and behavioral aspects of the habit and not the biological aspects, he suggests.

But the truth is that smoking or quitting smoking is a personal choice. And unless our society becomes an absolute police state, no amount of scientific data or anti-smoking advertising is going to get all smokers to quit. So, like any true American, they should hope for choices. And that is what the electronic cigarette is all about; choice. Smoker’s can choose to smoke tobacco, choose to quit smoking, choose to use nicotine gum, choose to use snus, or choose to use an electronic cigarette. The goal of government agencies, public health organizations, doctors, manufacturers, and retailers should be that of truthful information, not controlling individual’s decisions.

4 thoughts on “Study Shows Cigarette Cravings Result from Habit, Not Addiction

  1. That’s a lot like saying heroine addiction is hard to quit because it is a habit. You know what I am really addicted to (besides the nicotine)? the sensation of the smoke hitting the back of my lungs.. Is the habit or addiction? Either way, that’s what makes the e-cig work for me.

  2. I believe the balance between behavioral habit and chemical addiction to nicotine varies so greatly amoung smokers that it is nearly impossible to analyze objectively. I have known people who take up smoking for a few months then stop for many more months without withdrawals (or so they claim). I have known people who are content to enjoy one cigarette every few days and are content. For me, ever since a small child I have been fond of the aroma of rich tobacco. Even though the one smoker in the family quit before I was 12, I knew I was destined to become a smoker for the enjoyment of the taste and smell. Am I crazy? Certainly not, just a 40 year veteran and no diseases yet!

  3. I agree with the first poster. I was once a heroin addict, and part of the “habit” was smelling the tar, breaking it down in a spoon, drawing it up into a syringe, hitting the vein, feeling that initial heavenly rush, and then enjoying the high (if you didn’t OD). I would say that the whole ritual was just an important and the high itself. I think it’s the same for smoking.

  4. I quit smoking 4 years ago cold turkey for 7 months and I ended up smoking again. At that time I told my husband I wish there was some kind of inhaler that created a smoke. I was so excited when I heard something like this existed. I only found out about the ecig a few months ago. Finally got one and now I am completely off cigarettes and down to 12 ml nic . I started at18 ml. Off cigarettes for a month now. It was painless.

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