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Oklahoma State University study puts ex-smokers’ cigarettes to use

SUSAN SIMPSON Published: August 2, 2009
STILLWATER — For smokers trying to quit their habit, that "last” cigarette is usually the final one in the pack.

To an addict, cigarettes are so valued that not finishing the pack would be downright wasteful, said Oklahoma State University researcher Jared Dempsey.

Even those who have quit but relapse and buy a pack are likely to smoke the entire thing, further derailing their cessation.

His solution?

Donate those unused cigarettes to science.

Dempsey and his research team will use the cigarettes to help others stop smoking and to help understand the impact of visual cues on an addict’s brain.

Dempsey will use some of the cigarettes in photographs of smokers and smoking that scientists across that world can use when testing brain reaction to positive and negative stimuli.

For example, a smoker’s brain registers pleasure when seeing a cigarette being lit, but aversion to an image of a cigarette being finished.

The cessation treatment Dempsey advocates is called brand-fading. Smokers are weaned off cigarettes by lowering nicotine levels, by only smoking brands they don’t like and with nicotine patches.

"Smokers love their brand and their brand only,” said Dempsey, a psychology professor. "They do not like it when they smoke another brand.”

Jean Gay Potts, a financial assistant at OSU, quit smoking in 1991 after a 20-year habit.

She tried cigars, which she disliked, as she slowly weaned herself off her beloved Marlboro Lights.

"I was tired of smoking and looking for an easy way to quit. Know It: Addiction

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Opened and unopened packs of cigarettes can be mailed to Jared Dempsey, director of the Clinical Neuroscience Lab, Oklahoma State University, 116 N Murray, Stillwater, OK 74078-3064.


Four researchers who study tobacco use and the risk of tobacco-related disease in Oklahoma are the recipients of $200,000 in grants from the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center, a program of the OU Cancer Institute.

Marshall Cheney
Cheney, of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, is studying why blacks begin cigarette smoking at a later age than other groups and how to intervene.

Jennifer Peck
Peck, assistant professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Oklahoma College of Public Health, is investigating gestational diabetes as a potential tobacco-related health problem.

Norman Wong
Wong, of OU’s department of communication, will study the effectiveness of antismoking messages.

Jinying Zhao
Zhao, associate professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the OU College of Public Health, will look at how smoking impacts genes and arteries in American Indians.




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