Posted By: QuitSmoking.com Staff | Feb 26 2015
Through smell stimulus association, smokers can change behavior and decrease cigarette addition.
The Weizmann Institute scientists sought to help smokers quit using “sleep-learning” by helping to reduce the amount of nicotine consumed. They are utilizing a mix of bad smells: rotten eggs, fish, and cigarettes together, in order to change behavior while the patient is sleeping. Smell is one of the only sensations that does not wake the patient, so bad smells can be used in a Pavlovian style learning technique during sleep that will retrain our minds.
In the experiment conducted by Professor Noam Sobel and his PhD student assistant Anat Arzi, 66 smokers were invited to the sleep lab. Those who were exposed to the combination of bad smells, although they did not remember the smells, reported smoking less the week following their exposure to the smells. These patients did not experience behavior change when they were exposed to the smells while awake. One group of subjects actually smoked 30% less following the sleep training.
Sobel and Arzi claim that because the brain processes smell in the same area as the reward center of the brain (which is closely related to addiction), this new research is a promising new avenue to cope with addictions.