Rolled out cigarettes more addictive, shows study

Thursday, January 13, 2011

WELLINGTON - Smokers who prefer roll-your-own tobacco may be more intensely addicted to the habit than those who puff on readymade cigarettes.

Doctoral graduate Amy Lewis at the Victoria University in New Zealand investigated how tobacco smoke influences proteins involved in cigarette addiction.

These include monoamine oxidase enzymes or MAOs that break down brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and adrenalin, which have a bearing on mood, according to a Victoria University statement.

Much of the smoking-related research has focused on nicotine, but Lewis studied the effect that other non-nicotine components of tobacco smoke have on enzymes such as MAOs.

She found cigarettes contain a number of addictive elements within tar.

She said in addition to being exposed to higher levels of tar, the habits of roll-your-own smokers may increase their level of addiction.

This includes the size of the cigarette rolled, not using filters and drawing more intensively because the cigarette doesn’t burn as steadily as manufactured brands.

“The vast majority of work done to date focuses only on nicotine and how it impacts addictive pathways in the brain but my work shows that other components in tobacco also play a big part,” she said.

“It’s a bit like watching an orchestra at work - there are so many different brain pathways all working together to establish and fortify tobacco addiction.”

Filed under: Science and Technology

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