UT studies aim to help smokers kick the habit

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Half a million Americans will die this year from smoking related illnesses. If quitting the habit is one of your New Year’s resolutions, you might want to look into two ongoing studies at the University of Texas that could help you do just that.

Lighting up with coffee or a drink, after a meal, or to deal with stress are the most common temptations. Two years remain on a UT study regarding how stress triggers that habit. Researchers spend five weeks teaching stress coping mechanisms before you even attempt to quit. Relapses occur, especially in the first few weeks, but they are seeing some success.

“We are mostly looking for people who tend to think of themselves as using smoking to cope with stress,” said psychology professor Jasper Smits. “They have thought about quitting, they have even made attempts to quit in the past, but they tend to go back when something stressful happens.”

Four years remain on the study of smoking and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. People diagnosed with PTSD are twice as likely to smoke, and researchers are attempting a combination approach.

“We’re looking at the best treatment we have for smoking, which is a combination of counseling and a nicotine replacement, primarily wearing a patch, and coupling that with treatment for their post traumatic stress disorder, said psychology professor and former smoker Mark Powers. The program takes about 12 weeks.

Powers says the study has had four times the success dealing with PTSD than the smoking itself, which may be a testament to the grip of that nicotine addiction. If you think you might be a suitable candidate for one of these studies, you can contact the UT Department of Psychology and inquire about these projects.

Smoking Studies

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