Smoking has got to be one of the hardest habits to break. For instance, my younger brother simply can’t get through a day without lighting one up. (Though he doesn’t seem like he’s trying to stop at all, but I digress.)
As with milk tea, we know it’s bad for us, but we crave it all the same. Smoking, after all, is linked to every other malady out there, from bad breath to cancer. It’s also really bad for the environment and for innocent, non-smoking passersby.
Yet anyone who’s ever tried to quit will tell you how difficult it can be. Headaches, nausea, lethargy, and tar-flecked phlegm are just a few of the symptoms accompanying nicotine withdrawal. Sometimes, all your best intentions can even get waylaid at the sight and smell of someone else having a stick.
(Well, there we go. Looks like my younger brother does have his work cut out for him, but still. If you’re reading this, Albert, stop smoking. NOW.)
On the other hand, several remedies do abound. There are nicotine patches, gum, and even cognitive behavioral therapy. And now, there’s a new treatment that shows promise.
An Experiment on Aromas
Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh conducted an interesting experiment on smokers last April. First, they had the participants light a cigarette and hold it in their hands without smoking it. Afterwards, they extinguished the cigarettes and then had half the participants sniff boxes containing pleasurable scents, which included lemon, peppermint, and chocolate.
The other half, on the other hand, either sniffed boxes smelling of tobacco or nothing at all.
As you can imagine, each participant logged high craving scores after lighting a cigarette. The average craving score, in fact, was at 82.13.
Amazingly, however, those who smelled a pleasurable scent afterwards reported a significantly lower craving score. Theirs decreased by nearly 20 percent, as compared to those who sniffed tobacco (11.7 points) or nothing at all (11.2 points).
So What Does This Mean for People Who Want to Quit Smoking?
Diminished cravings can be a big help for people who really want to stop smoking. Save for withdrawal symptoms, the biggest obstacle in this endeavour is the temptation to light up.
Thus, if simply sniffing a pack of minty gum or a chocolate bar can help you fight the urge, then by all means, do whatever works for you.
Do bear in mind, however, that a mere whiff of your favorite scent won’t be enough. If you have particularly intense withdrawal symptoms, you should see a doctor. S/he remains the best person to help you come up with the most effective treatment plan.
Now, if only sniffing chocolate can help you lose weight….