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Roll-your-own Smokers More Addicted, Study Suggests

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Roll-your-own Smokers More Addicted, Study Suggests

Auckland, Jan 12 NZPA - New research suggests that smokers who roll their own cigarettes could be more intensely addicted to the habit than those who smoke the tailor-made variety.

In her study, Victoria University PhD graduate Amy Lewis found that cigarettes contain a number of addictive elements within the tar, in addition to the commonly cited 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.

"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."

Her research looked at the effect that other, non-nicotine, components of tobacco smoke have on enzymes such as monoamine oxidase, which breaks down brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and adrenalin, affecting people's mood.

In addition to being exposed to higher levels of tar, Dr Lewis said roll-your-own smokers tended to have habits which increased their level of addiction, including not using filters and drawing more intensively.

Dr Lewis, who is a non-smoker from a smoking family, hopes her work will provide a deeper understanding about why people get hooked on cigarettes and help develop new strategies 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," she said.

A range of brands and tobacco types were used in the research, with samples sent to an overseas laboratory where a smoking machine extracted the tar and tested its impact on certain enzymes within human cells.

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