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Nicotine changes eating habits.

Nicotine Changes Eating Habits

It appears that cigarettes may reduce the desire for sweets. The responsible ingredient seems to be nicotine.

In fact, a wealth of recent evidence indicates that nicotine in cigarettes is responsible for a host of physiological and psychological effects and that these alterations in metabolism and mood are a major reason why people smoke -- and find it so hard to stop smoking.

This research is buttressed by the therapeutic use of nicotine-containing gum to aid in smoking cessation.

"In the 1950s people talked about cigarette smoking as a psychosocial habit," notes Lynn T. Kozlowski, PhD, clinical instructor at the Addiction Research Foundation in Toronto. "But now we believe that it is an actual drug dependence." In the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) latest diagnostic manual, DSM-III, tobacco dependence is classified as an addiction and an organic mental disorder.

Says Ellen Gritz, PhD, associate research psychologist at UCLA, "Dependence has been defined as a situation in which the effects of a drug are needed to maintain an optimal state of well-being. The grouchiness of a smoker who has not had a cigarette in a while certainly fits this description." She also believes that some smokers' behavior fits the description of addiction as obsessive behavior centered around obtaining and using a substance. "I have patients who get up at 4 a.m. to find an all-night drug store so they can buy cigarettes," she notes.

Smoking behavior is more complex than keeping the fingers occupied or satisfying the oral deprivations remaining from infancy. Estimates Michael A.H. Russell, MB, senior lecturer and consultant psychiatrist at the Addiction Research Unit of Maudsley Hospital in London: "In at least 50% of smokers the pharmacological effect is an important part of their smoking." This conclusion is based on extensive research by his and other groups on so-called compensatory smoking.

Compensatory smoking can be easily demonstrated by observing persons smoking cigarettes of various strengths, most commonly cigarettes with different types of filters that deliver different amounts of cigarette smoke.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Mar 22, 1989
Previous Article:Heavy smoking or light smoking - is there a difference?
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