Smelling pleasant odours such as chocolate may reduce your cravings for another ...

Smelling pleasant odours such as chocolate could help reduce your cravings for a cigarette, according to a study.  

Researchers asked smokers to rate their urge to light up on a scale of one to 100, while they were exposed to an array of smells.

Those who smelt something nice, such as peppermint, saw their cravings drop the most, possibly because these smells are tied to memories.  

Researchers led by the University of Pittsburgh hope their findings could now form part of more effective ways to quit.

Smelling pleasant odours such as chocolate or vanilla could help reduce cravings for a cigarette, according to a study by the University of Pittsburgh

Smelling pleasant odours such as chocolate or vanilla could help reduce cravings for a cigarette, according to a study by the University of Pittsburgh

Dr Michael Sayette, study lead author, said: 'Even with nicotine replacement, relapse is common. 

'New interventions are urgently needed to help the millions who wish to quit but are unable.

'Using pleasant odours to disrupt smoking routines would offer a distinct and novel method for reducing cravings and our results to this end are promising.'

The study involved 232 smokers, aged 18 to 55, who were not trying to quit at the time and were not taking nicotine any other way, such as through gum or vaping.

They were asked not to smoke for eight hours before the experiment and were told to bring a pack of their favourite cigarettes and a lighter with them.

When they arrived, the smokers rated a number of different odours that are generally considered pleasant. These included chocolate, apple, peppermint, lemon and vanilla.

They also smelled an unpleasant chemical, tobacco from their preferred brand of cigarettes and one odourless 'blank'.

The volunteers were then asked to light a cigarette and hold it in their hands but not smoke it, for the study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

After ten seconds, the participants rated their urge to smoke on a scale of one to 100 before extinguishing the cigarette and putting it in an ashtray.

The participants then opened up a container that either contained the smell they had rated the best, the smell of tobacco or no scent at all. They sniffed it once before rating their urge to smoke again.

They continued to sniff their chosen container for the next five minutes. They rated their urge to smoke every 60 seconds.

WHAT ARE THE HEALTH RISKS OF SMOKING? 

Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK.

Every year around 78,000 people in the UK die from smoking, with many more living with debilitating smoking-related illnesses.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. 

Each year, nearly half a million Americans die prematurely of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Another 16 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. 

Smoking increases the risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions.

Some may be fatal, and others can cause irreversible long-term damage.

Smoking causes around seven out of every ten cases of lung cancer as well as causing other cancers.

It damages heart and blood circulation, increasing the risk of developing conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart

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