To Quit Smoking, Think About Smoking

People who suppress thoughts of cigarettes smoke more: study
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2010 3:19 PM CDT
To Quit Smoking, Think About Smoking
If you're thinking about quitting, keep thinking about smoking.   (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)

Trying not to think about cigarettes could make you smoke more of them, a new study suggests. Researchers studying "behavioral rebound"—the phenomenon in which suppressing thoughts of a behavior leads to increased instances of it—divided smokers into three groups. One was told to suppress thoughts of cigarettes and another was told to think away, leaving a control group.

The group that suppressed thoughts smoked fewer cigarettes at first, but then made up for it. "This method may be effective in reducing unwanted behavior in the short term," the lead researcher tells the Daily Mail. But "if trying to avoid thoughts of something in an attempt to give it up actually unwittingly triggers a subsequent increase, it's a poor method of achieving self control."
(Read more smoking stories.)

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