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Surprising Science

This Is Your Brain on Nicotine

Researchers are finding strong evidence that parts of the brain are involved in gaining control over smoking and nicotine addiction, and that different areas may be important for each individual.

Two new studies examined the neural systems of people addicted to smoking and found that their brains had highly variable reactions. “One study, published online by the journal Nature Neuroscience, found that people who had a stronger brain response in certain brain regions when getting individually tailored smoking-cessation messages were more likely to quit four months later. … The second study, published in the journal Psychological Science, also used brain imaging to watch three specific brain regions known to affect inhibition of unwanted or habitual behavior.”


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