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E-Cigarettes May Help Smoker's Memory

Date Posted: April 20, 2012

In new research presented at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference (18-20 April, 2012), it was discovered that electronic cigarettes may help the memory in addition to easing cravings as smokers quit the habit. The study was conducted on 85 regular smokers (men and women) by Dr. Lynne Dawkins of the University of East London.
 
Participants of the study were given an e-cigarette containing nicotine, one without or were told to just hold the e-cigarette without using it. After five minutes of using the e-cigarette as much as they wanted, they were asked to take a cravings and mood questionnaire. They repeated the questionnaire a further 20 minutes after using the e-cigarette. In addition, 60 participants completed a working memory task 10-15 minutes after using the e-cigarette.
 
Observations:
-The e-cigarette with nicotine helped the men more than the women when it came to cravings and improving their mood.
-The placebo cigarette was just as good as the nicotine e-cigarette for the women.
-Among the participants who tested for working memory, it was found that men and women who used electronic cigarettes with nicotine maintained better working memory than the others.

 
Dr. Dawkins stated that they were interested in exploring the effectiveness of e-cigarettes; as relatively little research had been done. She also said that it was interesting to see the reduction in cravings and the over-all effectiveness of e-cigarettes on men and women.
 
“Perhaps more significantly, we found that e-cigarettes with nicotine help maintain working memory in smokers who have not smoked for an hour or two. People who choose to stop smoking without using a nicotine substitute may therefore suffer a period during which their working memory levels dip until their bodies adjust to the reduced levels of nicotine. E-cigarettes seem to be effective at reducing this problem for men and women. However, in this study we did not look at the issue of whether people feel self-conscious about using the devices in public.”

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