People are aware that smoking can destroy your lungs and your life. What if emotions are what come into play to make us want to smoke? Harvard University did four studies to see just how emotions come into play when feeling tempted to smoke.

The Goal of the Studies

A team of researchers conducted four studies that sadness can play a strong role in triggering addictive behaviors. The studies analyzed data of more than 10,000 people in over 20 years and laboratory tests examining the responses of current smokers to negative emotions. Researchers were inspired by the deadly realities of smoking to conduct these studies as tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death in the United States despite 50 years of anti-smoking campaigns. 

Study #1

Based on data from a national survey that tracked 10,685 people in over 20 years, researchers discovered that self-reported sadness was linked with being a smoker. Quitters would relapse into smoking one and two decades later. The sadder they were, the more likely they were to be smokers.

Study #2

This study was to determine if negative life events caused you to smoke and be sad or if sadness is the cause of smoking. In the study, 425 smokers were recruited for an online study. One-third of people were shown a sad video clip about the loss of a life partner. Another third of the smokers were shown a neutral clip about woodworking. The final third were shown a disgusting video involving an unsanitary toilet. Everyone was asked to write about a related personal experience. Those who watched the sad video and wrote about personal loss had higher cravings than the neutral group and the disgusted group.

Study #3

This study measured the impatience for cigarette puffs. Nearly 700 people watched sad or neutral videos and were asked to choose between having fewer puffs sooner than those in the neutral group. Those in the sadness group were more impatient.

Study #4

This study had 158 smokers test how sadness influenced actual smoking behavior. They had to stop smoking for eight hours and assigned to watch sad or neutral videos. They smoked their own brand of cigarettes through a device that tested the total volume of puffs, their speed, and their duration. The results were that sad smokers had smoked greater volumes per puff. Linking emotions to smoking can make future impacts on anti-smoking campaigns.

At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.