A recent study published by the American Psychological Association found that inhaling pleasant aromas can decrease a smoker’s urge to light up.
The research published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology made no reference to the flavours used in e-liquid.
The researchers recruited 232 smokers aged between 18 and 55 who, at the time, were not attempting to quit with any form of nicotine replacement, including e-cigarettes.
The participants were asked to stop smoking eight hours before the study and to bring their preferred brand of cigarette with them.
First, the participants were asked to smell and rate a number of pleasant odours such as chocolate, peppermint and vanilla, as well as one unpleasant odour, tobacco from their favoured brand of cigarette and one odourless ‘blank’.
10 seconds later, the participants rated their urge to smoke on a scale of 1 to 100.
Finally, they opened a container containing the most pleasurable odour, the tobacco or the ‘blank’, sniffed it and then rated their urge to smoke. They continued to sniff for five minutes, rating their urge to smoke every 60 seconds.
All the participants reported a reduced urge to smoke after smelling each odour. However, the greatest reduction was found with the pleasant odours (19.3 points), compared to tobacco (11.7 percent) and the blank (11.2 points).
Lead author Michael Sayette, PhD, believes that pleasant odours distract people from their cravings as they are linked to ‘olfactory cues’.
The olfactory system links smells with memories, for example, cinnamon evoking pleasant memories of Christmas during childhood.
“Our research suggests that the use of pleasant odors [sic] shows promise for controlling nicotine cravings in individuals who are trying to quit smoking.”
Meanwhile, Sacramento City Council has approved a ban on the sale of flavoured e-liquids.
Local public heath advocates applauded the move, claiming that flavours lead underage users to smoke combustible cigarettes.
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