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Are Some People Hardwired to Quit Smoking?

Are you still struggling to kick the butt while your pal did it easily? There is a scientific reason for that.

Updated
India
2 min read
(Photo: iStock)

From cold turkey to nicotine patches, there are tons of ways to help you kick the butt. But if you hangout with a group of smokers, you’ll know, they’ve all tried to slay the monster atleast once.

But only 1 in 10 is able to do it.

Why is that?

I’ve always felt it can’t be willpower alone. And now there is science to back me up.

Two new studies published in the journal of Neuropsychopharmacology (in case you were googling a whacky name for your pet) say it is simply easier for some people to stop smoking than others. Just like that, their brains are wired for success!

It’s easier for some people to quit smoking than others but you can work around it (Photo: iStock)
It’s easier for some people to quit smoking than others but you can work around it (Photo: iStock)

The Reason

Blame it on a chemical locha between two parts of the brain: the insula and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (DACC)

Don’t get bored by the jargon, DACC, is simply your brain’s CPU. If you bite a chocolate even on a strict diet, here is where that reward-seeking decision was made. Now the insula (besides other important functions) produces cravings.

Studies have shown that any kind of damage to the insula (in any form of injury, brain strokes etc) kills all kinds of cravings. Smokers just don’t want the death sticks anymore. They just quit cold turkey.

The sucky bit? You’re a cigarette slave and can’t quit because the insula and the DACC are so well oiled. The cravings feed into your decision making and before you know you’ve lit a Marlboro.

A good connection ain’t such a great thing after all!

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Tips to Help you Quit

It’s hard, yes. Impossible, no (Photo: iStock)
It’s hard, yes. Impossible, no (Photo: iStock)

Honestly it’s not going to be easy and no tactic will guarantee a craving-free day. But don’t give up giving up. See if these tips help:

Do something with your hands (That didn’t sound right!) because holding a cigarette becomes your comfort zone. Instead of lighting up out of boredom, hold a Mars (okay, not the healthiest thing, but it won’t kill you!) and reward your brain.

Go for a run. Do 20 crunches. Exercise releases the feel good hormones and your brain will associate quitting with fitness.

Each time you feel the urge, lick a little salt with your tongue. This is said to break the habit in less than a month.

Seek professional help if everything fails. There are drugs and patches and counselling. Whatever helps you slay the monster.

Now REPEAT that (Photo: TheQuint)
Now REPEAT that (Photo: TheQuint)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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