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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Higher Addiction Among 'Roll-Your-Own' Smokers

Cigarettes are highly addictive anyway you cut it; however, it has long been thought that prefabricated cigarettes were somehow worse than 'roll-your-own'. New research points us in a different direction claiming that 'roll-your-own' cigarettes are actually more addictive after all. Cigarettes in any form are bad for you for a number of reasons, but, common misconceptions about some cigarettes being healthier can be dangerous. At Victoria University in New Zealand, Amy Lewis has found that cigarettes contain a number of addictive elements within the tar, on top of the most well known nicotine. "This is concerning for roll-your-own smokers as New Zealand loose leaf tobacco has a significantly higher ratio of tar to nicotine than manufactured cigarettes," Stuff.co.nz quoted her as saying.

Lewis is more concerned with the additives other than nicotine as they may be more harmful. "The vast majority of work done to date focuses only on nicotine and how it impacts on addictive pathways in the brain but my work shows that other components in tobacco also play a big part," she said. The research done by Lewis studied the effect that the other chemicals in tobacco smoke had on enzymes such as monoamine oxidase in the body. One's mood is affected when monoamine oxidase enzymes break down brain neurotransmitters:
  • serotonin
  • dopamine
  • adrenalin
On top of there being more tar in 'roll-your-own' tobacco, the way in which they are smoked does more harm than prefabricated cigarettes according to Lewis. People who use 'roll-your-own' tobacco typically do not use filters and will tend to draw on the cigarettes harder than someone smoking a prefab. Lewis would like to understand how people get hooked and what would be the best way to help people quit. "It's a bit like watching an orchestra at work - there are so many different brain pathways all working together to establish and fortify tobacco addiction," Lewis added.


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