Nicotine increases gradually in smokers' brains rather that spiking after each puff, according to a research that is aimed to find new ways to help people stop smoking.
"The nicotine increase in the brain was gradual over several minutes," Dr. Jed E. Rose of Duke University, reported at the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Researches have found out that the level of nicotine in the brain is increasing about seven seconds after each puff, but almost no measurements were taken until now," Rose declared in the interview.
"We were amazed to find that the level of absorption was much different from what one commonly hears," stated Rose, who leads the Duke Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research, a part of the university's School of Medicine.
Rose used brain scanning images in order to measure the nicotine levels in 13 heavy smokers and 10 people who smoke from time to time, a sign that they were not addicted to nicotine.
Maximum brain levels of nicotine were attained in 3 to 5 minutes, and increased slower in heavy smokers that in casual ones, the researches found.
"This slower rate was attained from nicotine persisting longer in the lungs of heavy smokers, which may be a result of the chronic effects of smoke on the lungs," Rose stated.
"Now that we clearly know that there are not these increases that were supposed, researches may be better able to elaborate new methods and ways to help smokers obtain what they need from tobacco products, but in a way that doesnít cause addiction," Rose declared.
For example his laboratory is working on a mist inhaler that delivers nicotine without any combustion.
Still remains one question: Why do some people become addicted to tobacco products and others donít? According to researches the difference in the level of nicotine increase in the brain doesn't explain this.
This research was sponsored by the leading tobacco enterprises Philip Morris International and Philip Morris USA. The researches stated that enterprises hadnít the role in carrying out the research or analyzing the results.
Dr. Roseís data corroborate his earlier work on blood levels of nicotine, and "the brain is what really matters in this entire situation" declared Dr. Kenneth A. Perkins, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, who also investigates why smoking causes addiction.
The supposition was that at a critical effect of smoking a doze of nicotine with each puff, then another doze with the next puff, and so on, Perkins declared.
"He is demonstrating that, at least when you look at the blood and brain concentration levels, what is going on is much more successive. Clinically, I am not quite sure what to do with this," Perkins, who havenít participated at the Rose's research, concluded.