Read this article on smoking and the brain:

Summarize the article. What are your thoughts on this piece? What is most interesting to you? Choose one aspect of the article that you want to learn more about and find out some more information about that. What did you learn? How does your understanding of concepts from chapter 3 help you understand this article? What does all this information teach you about the motivation to quit smoking?

Provide a list of proper M&E terms that you used in your blog post.

Photo credit: smoking and sad girlby *hidlight (


This article talked about how those who say smoking is just a “bad habit” may actually be right, and how it may come down to a problem with willpower and external events or external stimuli. The article explained how addiction is due to the certain brain areas being activated. These brain areas are probably activated by certain neurotransmitters at their receptor cites. According to chapter 3 of the text, dopamine would be the neurotransmitter that deals with pleasure in the brain and addictive pleasure for certain habits or behaviors. The article discusses how watching movies in which people smoke can activate brain areas that drive the body movements that a smoker makes, moving their hands towards their mouth when watching actors do so in films. Kids watch these movies and want to “look cool”, so this is why it can be viewed as a hazard for kids to watch lots of movies with smoking. The article explained how the American Lung Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have tried to even ban smoking from Hollywood movies. Watching movies with smoking may also cause ex-smokers to start again, do to activation of brain areas linked with smoking. Lastly, the article explained how smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, and even though the numbers are staggering, people continue to deny how dangerous and addictive it can be.

The concept of people watching movies with stars smoking, and that watching these stars make others want to smoke, makes a lot of sense to me. For example, smoking was widely accepted in the 1940’s and 1950’s. It wasn’t seen as a necessarily bad habit as it is today, and it wasn’t seen as the big health-risk like it is today. Movies in the 1940’s and 1950’s also contained a lot more smoking than we see today. For example, watch any old movie with stars such as Humphrey Bogart or James Dean. These stars were often seen with a cigarette hanging out of their mouth, so I feel like it was even more of an influence back then. However, it is still seen a lot in movies today. I don’t think it is realistic for the American Lung Association or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to try to ban smoking from movies. I just can’t see it happening for one. I also think that it would destroy the authenticity in a lot of movies. I do however see the motivation for these organizations to want to do so. I thought that this was a very interesting concept, and even though it has always been said that kids see stars and want to smoke because of watching them, I never actually took it into as much serious consideration as this article did. I think this would be an area that I would want to learn more about: I would like to know some of the actual raw data and statistics (if available) on how much influence media, specifically films, has on influencing kids to start smoking cigarettes. I have never been addicted to cigarettes or even tried smoking cigarettes in my life so it is hard to understand the struggles of addiction with it and the motivation to quit smoking. However, I found it very interesting that a lot of behavioral therapy is used when trying to get people to quit. I often see commercials for different drug therapies but not as much behavioral therapy. I after reading this I could assume that cutting down on movies and television could make a big impact on ones’ decision to successfully quit smoking.

My understanding of concepts from chapter 3 helped me understand this article in many different areas. Towards the end of the article it talked about how different remedies such as drug patches can help people quit smoking. Chapter 3 explains how these different pharmaceuticals help people to stop smoking by taking the dopamine-related pleasure out of smoking and from the addictive nicotine. Several areas of the brain that I learned about in chapter 3 play key roles in smoking. The hypothalamus would be one; it has to do with our motivation for hunger and thirst, and I think that smoking would also tie in with this. The second is the medial forebrain bundle. This is the “pleasure center” that deals with positive reinforcement; this goes hand in hand with smokers as they receive positive reinforcement in the brain from the pleasure of smoking. Lastly is the orbitofrontal cortex. I believe this ties in with smoking because we have to make a decision whether to smoke or not smoke, and incentives play a big role in this process. Feelings that cigarettes may emit for a smoker, such as relaxation, plays a big role in making the choice to smoke or not to smoke.

Terms Used: External Events, Stimuli, Neurotransmitters, Dopamine, Motivation, Addiction, Hypothalamus, Medial Forebrain Bundle, Orbitofrontal Cortex

I found it interesting that movies play such a huge role in smokers’ relapses. It’s something that I have never heard of before and something that I’ve never put a whole lot of thought into it. But now that I think about it, it’s kind of like a person on a diet watching a food commercial for a big juicy steak. Something is going to be triggered in their brain that is going to want that steak. It’s crazy that just watching an actor an actress performing the motion of bringing a cigarette to his or her lips can trigger an area in the brain that knows that movement and now craves a cigarette. Is there a will power that can trump this area of the brain? It makes me wonder how many relapses could actually be prevented if smoking were to be removed from movies and television.

In chapter 3 it talked about how in studies on rat brains researchers found that an increase in dopamine (the feel good neurotransmitter) was released when they gave a rat a drug like cocaine. That’s what makes it so addictive; the brain craves dopamine. The brain wants to feel good. I bet the same thing is happening in the brains of smokers and that’s what makes it so hard to quit and so easy to relapse. It also makes it so hard to figure out how to help those who want to quit. How can we make those neurotransmitters fire without taking a puff of a cigarette? Better yet, can we make those neurotransmitters stop firing when someone smokes?

After reading this article, I wanted to learn more about ways that someone could try to quit smoking and I came across the article that was in the related article section that talks about motivational interviewing (perfect for this class right?). Motivational interviewing is something someone could do on his or her own. It’s basically a pros and cons list; why do I enjoy smoking and what are some of the consequences of my smoking? What I was getting from the article is the point of motivational interviewing is that people will see that they would get so much more out of not smoking than they are now. By seeing that good outweighs the bad, the person would now be motivated to make a change.
Terms: Dopamine, neurotransmitter

The article focused on explaining why people who want to quit smoking struggle so much with actually quitting. Over 50% of adult smokers want to quit, but only 5% actually do, the article says that part of this is due to the display of smoking in movies. I was surprised to hear that watching actors smoke on screen tends to trigger relapses in smokers, I had not realized that television had that much of an impact on smokers.

I was intrigued that watching actors smoke can lead to relapses in smokers and part of this phenomenon is due to mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are triggered when a person is watching someone else do something, mirror neurons react in the body just as they would if it was the person themselves actually performing the action. For smokers, when they see others smoking on screen their mirror neurons start firing and react the same way that they would if the viewer was actually smoking their own cigarette. The body then starts to react as if it should be having a cigarette, causing the smokers to relapse.

Another thing that we learned about in chapter 3 is that dopamine is released in anticipation of an incentive, which means that dopamine is being released before the smoker actually has a cigarette. So the smoker can be watching the movie and watch an actor or actress smoke a cigarette and begin to release dopamine and they associate this good feeling with smoking. The smoker wants to continue to release dopamine in order to maintain this good feeling so they begin smoking again.

Smoking is addictive for multiple reasons. First, a smoker has formed the habit of smoking, and habits are very hard to break. Second, nicotine is addictive. Third, there are still external stimuli that make you crave the feeling of smoking (the release of dopamine) even if you do not actually crave a physical cigarette. All of these things make it very hard for smokers to quit and to stay clean.

Terms: dopamine, incentive, external stimuli

This article summarized research explaining why actors smoking in movies may be more harmful than what we initially believed. They found that simply by watching someone, such as characters in a movie smoking activates certain areas of the brain that are the force behind the actual body movements real smokers make. They go on to argue that seeing smoking in movies could contribute to relapse in smokers who are trying to quit. The article goes on to point out that while most people know smoking is “bad for you,” it is still prevalent in many countries and continues to be among the leading preventable causes of death.

What I found to be most interesting about this article is the basic premise that it talked about: seeing someone else smoke actually triggers certain areas of the brain to be more active. To me this is just one of the many examples of how the brain works in amazing ways. I studied abroad in Spain last spring and noticed that in much of Europe it seems like everyone smokes. I wasn’t sure if this was simply because they are still able to smoke in public whereas in the United States there are many laws prohibiting this, so I did a little bit of research on the rates of smoking and death from tobacco smoking in each country. In the United States 1000-1249 cigarettes are consumer per person annually. In Spain, however the rate is 1750-1999, which is much higher. I couldn’t find any good data on the number of deaths attributed to tobacco smoking to use for comparing the two countries, though common sense would tell us that the rate would be higher in Spain. I think what I find most intriguing about these differences between our two countries is that in the US there are constantly campaigns going on to raise awareness about the effects of smoking and countless other public health initiatives that have led to things like smoking bans. In Spain, however, while they admit that smoking is bad for you they are very cavalier about it. It’s honestly just not a very big deal over there.

Chapter 3 talked a lot about pleasure and where it comes from in the brain. I’m not a smoker, but I would venture to say that smoking leads to pleasure, regardless of the reason why the individual smokes. One of the concepts chapter three talked about was the medial forebrain bundle. For motivation this is considered to be the “pleasure center.” It consists of fibers that link the hypothalamus to other structures. When this area of the brain is stimulated it creates pleasure, so this could be one of the areas affected when an individual sees another person smoking. Another important part of the brain related to emotions and motivation are neurotransmitters. Dopamine is the pleasure chemical that may be released in anticipation of something pleasurable. I would guess that this could also have something to do with why seeing someone else smoke could be detrimental to an individual who is trying to quit. If the person sees the act of smoking it could result in the expectancy of getting the hit again, leading to the release of dopamine and reminding the brain why it liked it before. All of this information helps me to understand why it can be so difficult to quit smoking. You could start off with the best of intentions and be highly motivated, but if your brain is active in ways that discourage this behavior, which is what commonly happens, it’s much harder to succeed.

Terms: medial forebrain bundle, hypothalamus, neurotransmitters, dopamine

The article discusses smoking and how it is called a “bad habit.” It discusses that movies also have an impact on people smoking. When a smoker sees someone on TV reach and grab for a cigarette, the impulse and the action of reaching for a cigarette makes the watcher want to do the same motion. TV makes smoking look cool, making younger kids want to try and mimic being cool. The brain has a huge impact on a smoker’s habit. The brain lets you know when you are craving or wanting a cigarette. The article stated that many people try to quit smoking, and there are many different ways to quit. However, a very high percent of people relapse and start smoking again. The article states that smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.
This is something that I find very interesting. I find it interesting that people would engage in an activity where they know the results could lead to death. Smoking is something that you choose to do. I just can’t believe that there are more deaths due to smoking than there are from car accidents or AIDS. People don’t choose to get in a car accident or contact AIDS. When a person starts smoking or continues to smoke, they are signing their own death wish.
One thing I would like to know more about is why people relapse on smoking. Is there more of one reason than another? I found out that the first phase of quitting, withdrawal is the hardest. This is when a lot of people give up and go back to smoking. During the withdrawal phase the smoker has very strong cravings for nicotine. After the first couple weeks of not smoking, it is stated that it is a more mental game. One of the hardest parts to quit smoking is the constant reminders of smoking. Even though they have quit, they still have the mind set of being a smoker. Any positive or negative situation could trigger the urge to smoke, such as a friend is smoking or having a drink. Relapse is very easy to do for a person who is just beginning their quitting phase.
Chapter 3 intertwines with this article because the brain is what is giving us the sensations or the urge to do what we want to do, such as smoking. If a person truly wants to quit smoking, what is motivating them to do so? The orbitofrontal cortex is associated with making choices. This will be triggered with the person decides to smoke or not. The brain is so complex and is associated with all of our actions that we do in our life. The right prefrontal cerebral cortex is associated with withdraw motivational and emotional tendencies. That is exactly what is being used when trying to make the decision to quit smoking. Chapter 3 and the article read very coincide with each other.
Terms: orbitofrontal cortex, prefrontal cerebral cortex, motivational and emotional tendencies

This short article reported on the new research findings that a correlation has been shown between an individuals who have previously smoked watching another individual smoke on television and a risk for relapse. The argument for this correlation is the same specific brain areas are stimulated when individuals smoke and when the individuals who have smoked in the past watch someone else smoke. It is contested that when these brain areas are stimulated individuals who are working to quit smoking see someone smoke they become more vulnerable to begin smoking again.

I find this article very interesting and I see a lot of face validity in this argument. I believe that whenever an individual is watching television and they see something they enjoy whether that is a big juicy cheeseburger, a vacation destination, or an individual smoking it is the biological components in the brain that trigger the approach orientated areas of the brain to fire. Unfortunately, in the case of smoking these individuals find smoking a pleasurable activity which leads to very negative health consequences. The item that I found most interesting and yet alarming was the extremely low percentage of individuals who are successful in their attempts to quit smoking. I believe this supports the claims that are made in this article that shows that it is more than just a bad habit that can be easily stopped. Individuals’ brains who smoke are firing and telling them that this dangerous substance is good and pleasurable.

I was very surprised at the claim nicotine CEO’s made in front of Congress that nicotine is not addictive. I decided to research this further and found some very interesting information. The nicotine companies and the FDA had discrepant definitions of addiction. Nicotine companies believe that addiction is whether customers have the opportunity to learn about the negative effects of nicotine and that it may be difficult to stop use before starting use. They feel nicotine companies clearly state the negative side effects of nicotine (Sharfstein, 1999). The FDA claimed that addiction causes psychoactive effects, controlled compulsive use, and drug reinforced behavior (intoxication) (Sharfstein, 1990). Through examining the differences between what the nicotine companies believe addiction to be and what the FDA believes addiction to be I believe it reflects the aspects of chapter 3. The FDA has more focus on stimulants in the brain that cause the behavior while the nicotine companies’ focus more on the social decision to use nicotine. However, the end of chapter 3 states that it is imperative to also consider the biological framework when looking at social contexts and in the case of the nicotine companies the biological aspect is ignored.

This article goes hand in hand with chapter three. It expands the idea that approach-orientated structures are stimulated which causes individuals to begin smoking. The text goes into great detail explaining the importance of dopamine. In the case of an individual who smokes watching someone smoke they begin to feel intense anticipation of the pleasure they experience when they smoke. The text describes the dopamine release during anticipation is usually more than the dopamine release during the actual event which can help explain why individuals have extreme difficulty overcoming the desire to smoke.

All of the information in the article, the text, and further research has supported that once individuals begin smoking cessation is extremely difficult. Smoking is more than just a habit, and quitting is more than just a decision. Individuals are not only fighting against social contexts but also biological components.

Terms: approach orientated, addiction, dopamine

Regardless of whether or not big tobacco CEOs agree, smoking is addictive. It has long been held that nicotine is what makes cigarettes addictive and smokers likely to relapse. To help smokers quit we used to just satisfy their nicotine addiction. But new information suggests that relapse includes more factors than just nicotine. Now it appears that quitting is not so simple. Seeing movie and TV stars doing the act of smoking a cigarette leads to a wanting to perform that act. The movie stars make it look cool which activates areas of the brain associated with the physical habit of smoking. This increases the likelihood that ex-smokers will relapse.

I think the argument the American Lung Association and the CDC has about kids emulating movie stars by smoking is appealing, yet unreasonable. To ban cigarettes would be like banning Quentin Tarantino from using guns or Martin Scorsese from using swear words. I don’t foresee this happening, and I don’t foresee a ban on cigarettes in movies. Of course I agree that cigarettes kill, there is no question that banning cigarettes in real life would save lives. But we don’t bar things from movies that are banned or even questionable in real life. There would be no movie industry if everything that was shown had to be appropriate and socially acceptable. No more Little Miss Sunshine, no more Batman, no more Fight Club, even no more Beauty and the Beast (guns, fighting, and death are all portrayed). Movies would be dull and boring and generic if we started banning things that might not be “good” things to do.

I was interested in why nicotine is so addictive. Like other drugs, nicotine stimulates pleasure centers of the brain. These pleasure centers and reward pathways are stimulated by the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine has the affect of stimulating these approach-oriented structures of the brain, which leads to behavior to stimulate these areas again. It is simple, when you smoke the levels of dopamine in pleasure areas of your brain increases and so you seek behavior that will replicate that feeling. Nicotine increases the amount of dopamine that is released in the brain. Recent research has also found another agent present in cigarettes that inhibits the breakdown of dopamine. The amount of the enzyme monoamineoxidase, which breaks down dopamine, decreases during consumption of a cigarette. With these effects on dopamine in the brain, it is no surprise that cigarettes are so terribly addictive. To quit smoking cigarettes would mean to quit giving your brain extra dopamine. Cigarettes provide nicotine, nicotine provides dopamine, and dopamine provides pleasure, which leads to wanting more. Based on brain chemistry alone there is no motivation to quit smoking, in fact there is motivation to smoke more to receive more pleasure. This is what makes quitting so hard. Quitting means shutting off a source of pleasure that your brain has become used to.

Terms: Addiction, neurotransmitters, dopamine, reward pathways

“Smoking in Movies: Why Your Brain Thinks It's Cool” is an article about smoking and how it is harder for adults to quit smoking, than just wanting to and how smoking in movies makes people that do not smoke, such as teens and youth, and people who have quit or are trying to quit, more likely to start smoking. I think that it would be a good idea to eliminate as much smoking as possible from movie and television in general because our youth and teens are watching the actors and actresses and wanting to be more like what they are watching on television, not how the actors and actresses act in real life, they are only seeing it on the screen.

I found the part of the article where the author was discussing that 50 percent of the adult population that smokes try to quit each year very interesting. I guess I would not have guessed that many adults that smoke try to quit, I pry would have guessed only 25 percent or less actually try to quit.

I decided to research the topic of can hypnosis help people quit smoking. This was not a topic in the article, but when I was reading about all the people who try to quit smoking a year and finding out that less than 5% are successful, it made think about having heard that hypnosis can help you stop smoking and it made me want to research about it to see how it works. “Once the patient is in the trance, and his "suggestibility" is maximized, the practitioner makes statements ("I am uninterested in cigarettes" or "I hate the smell of smoke on my clothing") that will hopefully take root and change the client's behavior. Then the client is "awakened," or brought out of the hypnotic state. In short, a hypnotherapist verbally guides a client to a hyper-responsive, hyper-attentive state in which the patient's subconscious mind (the part that tells them that smoking is cool and totally worth it) is in its most persuadable state, and then replaces the harmful or unwanted thoughts with positive, healthy ones” (Emkin, 2012). There is a variety of options, whether it is in person, one-on-one, or even by using a CD, the important thing is wanting to quit.

One of the major terms from the chapter that can be used with smoking is dopamine. Dopamine generates good feelings associated with a reward. Basically the dopamine in smoking is the nicotine, which you become addicted to through smoking, which makes you want to keep doing it. This is similar to when you are drinking pop and become addicted to caffeine, which is a drug, and you continue to want it and are unable to quit cold turkey.

The wanting part of smoking can be looked at one of two ways, you can want to stop, but you also want to smoke. I look at smoking in kind of a wanting verse liking action. Wanting is a motivational state that occurs prior to receiving a reward, such as wanting to smoke due to the addiction. Liking is a motivational state that occurs after reward receipt, such as not being happy with smoking because you know it is bad for you. In the Chapter 3 blog, I talked about not being able to think of something where you want it, but do not like it. Smoking would be a great example because when you are trying to quit you want to smoke and then if you do smoke, afterwards you do not like the feeling.

Terms: Dopamine, Liking, Wanting

Article link:

This blog focused on the addictiveness of smoking and the some causes of relapse. I was surprised to find that actors smoking in movies has such an impact on those attempting to quick smoking and those who still do smoke. I found it fascinating and was given more of an understanding of motivation after reading that people can relapse just from watching another person smoke. However with more thought it is not so surprising because when I watch someone eat I usually get hungry. The article also covered some statistics such as; only 5% of people who try and quit smoking succeed and cigarette smoking causes more deaths than, AIDS, illegal drug use, murder, car accidents, alcohol use, and suicides combined. That’s 443,000 deaths per year and the leading cause of preventable deaths in almost every country. Smokers, because of nicotine also have difficulties healing properly form surgeries of bone fracture. Some of the ways used to treat smoking or nicotine addiction are cognitive behavior therapy, quit lines are said to be helpful, nicotine patches, and some medicines such as Varenicline proved to have an effect on the reduction of brain activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex which is associated with drug motivation. The study on Varenicline also showed that people with psychiatric issues have a more difficult time quitting smoking. This article also includes information from another article titled “Brain imaging studies examine how anti-smoking medications may curb cravings,” that discusses topics discussed in chapter 3 such as FMRI the magnetic imaging or the brain. They found that people who smoked showed more activity in the amygdala, hippocampus, and a few other brain structures known to be activated by addictive drugs. They also found that in nicotine deprived smokers their reward and attention circuits were activated similar to the example in chapter 3 with the hungry person’s body releasing the hormone Ghrelin to make you eat. In conclusion the article states that there are still unanswered questions about why people repeatedly relapse and that we are still trying to get a better understanding of the human bodies’ response to cigarette smoking, and what changes are made in the brain activity that drives people to continue to smoke. I would like to learn more about nicotine addiction, it sounds to me that an addiction that strong would have to change your brain chemistry and I wonder what effect that has on other parts of the brain and does it affect the way the brain communicates with the rest of the body.
Terms: motivation, cognitive behavior therapy, medial orbitofrontal cortex, amygdala, hippocampus, Ghrelin, addiction, FMRI

This article talks about smoking and the research that has been and is continuing to be done on the effects of smoking and how the brain plays a big role. It begins the article talking about how everyone already knows that smoking is bad for the them and that smoking is a bad habit and can be stopped at anytime given enough willpower. It then starts to dig a little deeper into how seeing people smoke in movies can be a huge cause of people being triggered to smoke or to relapse for those who have tried to stop. I did not realize how big of a part just seeing people smoke on T.V. played in why people smoke.

Smoking can trigger different sections of your brain, and they fire off neurotransmitters that make you crave a cigarette. It fit well with chapter 3, which talked about the brain because the brain is so powerful and can easily get triggered when it sees the action of smoking being done. The brain craves different things, with pleasure being on of them. The feeling a person gets from a cigarette is more than likely pleasurable, which is a reason they continue to smoke. When the brain sees the action being done it releases dopamine because the act of smoking makes the smoker happy.

I found it interesting how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Lung Association have tried hard to get smoking banned from movies. I never really thought about the impact seeing smoking in a movie can play but when they mentioned the part about kids seeing smoking and wanting to try it I understood why they would work so hard to get it taken out. Today kids are victims to pure pressure all the time so between the pressure coming from their peers to try it and seeing actors smoke on T.V. and thinking it is cool and not a danger to them, it makes sense why kids are beginning to smoke at younger ages. . I would like to look more into the numbers of kids that smoke and their reasoning behind why they started in the first place.

I learned from this article that it is not that easy to just quit smoking all together. Some people have been smoking for so long that it just becomes habit. It is second nature for a smoker to just light up and not thinks about it but seeing how the brain plays a role in why smoking is so hard to quit it makes it easier to understand. In health there are many companies that are trying to provide knowledge and resources to smokers to help them quit. Offering smoking cessation classes has become a very popular tool for employers to try to help their employees quit. Now that we know how the brain plays a part in the act of smoking it makes it much more clear why it is hard and why we need to offer these resources to people.

Key Terms: Nicotine, dopamine, addiction, neurotransmitters

This article talks about smoking and the research that has been and is continuing to be done on the effects of smoking and how the brain plays a big role. It begins the article talking about how everyone already knows that smoking is bad for the them and that smoking is a bad habit and can be stopped at anytime given enough willpower. It then starts to dig a little deeper into how seeing people smoke in movies can be a huge cause of people being triggered to smoke or to relapse for those who have tried to stop. I did not realize how big of a part just seeing people smoke on T.V. played in why people smoke.

Smoking can trigger different sections of your brain, and they fire off neurotransmitters that make you crave a cigarette. It fit well with chapter 3, which talked about the brain because the brain is so powerful and can easily get triggered when it sees the action of smoking being done. The brain craves different things, with pleasure being on of them. The feeling a person gets from a cigarette is more than likely pleasurable, which is a reason they continue to smoke. When the brain sees the action being done it releases dopamine because the act of smoking makes the smoker happy.

I found it interesting how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Lung Association have tried hard to get smoking banned from movies. I never really thought about the impact seeing smoking in a movie can play but when they mentioned the part about kids seeing smoking and wanting to try it I understood why they would work so hard to get it taken out. Today kids are victims to pure pressure all the time so between the pressure coming from their peers to try it and seeing actors smoke on T.V. and thinking it is cool and not a danger to them, it makes sense why kids are beginning to smoke at younger ages. . I would like to look more into the numbers of kids that smoke and their reasoning behind why they started in the first place.

I learned from this article that it is not that easy to just quit smoking all together. Some people have been smoking for so long that it just becomes habit. It is second nature for a smoker to just light up and not thinks about it but seeing how the brain plays a role in why smoking is so hard to quit it makes it easier to understand. In health there are many companies that are trying to provide knowledge and resources to smokers to help them quit. Offering smoking cessation classes has become a very popular tool for employers to try to help their employees quit. Now that we know how the brain plays a part in the act of smoking it makes it much more clear why it is hard and why we need to offer these resources to people.

Key Terms: Nicotine, dopamine, addiction, neurotransmitters

The article explains that not only is kicking the habit of smoking difficult, but simply watching one of your favorite movies may lead you astray and right back to smoking. The article explains that by simply watching someone smoke on the big screen, this may activate brain areas linked to addiction. The article explains that for some, neurotransmitters may be activated, causing your craving for a cigarette to be re-lit.

I had never heard that both the American Lung Association and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have called for cigarettes to be banned from movies due to their consequences of leading ex-smokers to pick the habit right back up again. While I myself have never smoked a cigarette, I have known plenty of people who have. The amount of peer pressure that is placed on kids to “look cool” by smoking is overwhelming, and the fact that it’s portrayed so highly in movies (usually) shows the pressure that young kids are feeling. I know they’ve made some ground on smoking addiction, by banning them from billboards and magazines, I feel that this will never be the case in movies though.

I was almost baffled at the statistics that the article gave, saying that while 20 percent of U.S. adults are smokers, 50 percent try to quit every year and that LESS than 5 percent of them actually succeed in quitting. Could this be because of movies, and the fact their cravings once again ignite after seeing it portrayed in a movie? It would be hard to figure out if it’s due to the movie, or some other confounding variable, but the research is there. I looked further into behavioral therapy and smoking, and studies have shown that CBT greatly improves the chance of kicking the addition. The difficult part they are having, is finding out why some relapse so easily compared to others. Is it more external stimuli that causes some to relapse, or is it their own brain fighting against them? I’ve also heard another technique that is used for smoking cessation, aversive therapy, which pairs the pleasurable stimulus of smoking with an unpleasant stimulus.

Reading Chapter 3 and this article, you can easily begin to see why they connect so well. The brain is the basis for addiction, and without it, we may never be addicted! While of course that is simplifying things greatly, it shows just how important the brain really is. The first thing I thought of was the medial forebrain bundle, or the area that deals with reward, or pleasure. We can’t deny that nicotine is addicting, and for those who smoke, it’s a pleasure. We begin to have a better understanding of just what addiction does to the brain, and how important it is to have a better understanding of how the brain works. The article made me realize just how important different parts of the brain really are, and just how big of a role they may play. So when someone says they tried to quit, we shouldn’t look at them with shame, but understand that addiction is truly motivated by the brain. It isn’t as easy as just stopping, as we can quickly go right back to it, maybe due to our inability to fight the addiction, or maybe as simply because it’s in the movies.

Terms: Neurotransmitters, Addiction, Confounding Variable, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Aversive Therapy, Medial Forebrain Bundle, Reward

The main topic of this article was the idea that the smoking we see on movies, television, etc. could contribute to smoker relapses. Many people who say smoking is just a bad habit are somewhat right in these new studies. When watching movies we see hundreds of behaviors, recently though research has proven that seeing someone lifting a cigarette to their mouth causes the brain to activate areas that can lead back to the physical habit of smoking. Although there are numerous methods and help lines to assist smokers in quitting, the more we can do to keep it off of movies and television, the more it will help. I think this piece was very informative and well written. If all of this evidence is proving to be true though, I think that stronger actions should be made to let people know of this and help more people on their journey to quit.
I know people try to break this habit day after day but I did not know that only 5 percent of smokers who try to quit succeed. This part was most interesting and/or shocking to me because I had no idea that so many people relapsed so easily. I also found it higher than I expected that 50% of those relapses were in the first year.
The part of the article that I would like to learn more about would be why people relapse so easily and so soon after trying to quit. I found that the nicotine in cigarettes wears off only 20 minutes after smoking and that nicotine reaches the brain through the bloodstream within 20 minutes. This is why 90 percent of all smokers who quit, usually begin again throughout their lives. These numbers are astonishing to me because I had no idea it was so much higher than I imagined. It also gives me a new look at how hard kicking the habit must be.
Chapter three talked about dopamine and addictions, and how nicotine is a drug that can hypersensitivity for many years. Dopamine itself releases positive feelings and when your addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes, getting the nicotine back in your system connects with higher dopamine levels, making smoking more enjoyable. Learning all of this information about smoking makes me take a step back and realize how much more goes into quitting smoking than I initially thought. It also makes me have a greater respect for those who are able to quit and never pick up a cigarette again though.

Key terms: Addiction, nicotine, dopamine, hypersensitivity

This article talks about the physiological responses that occur in the brain when an actor or actress is smoking in a movie. It was found actually seeing the movements of smoking making the area of the brain that is responsible for those movements more active in addition to activating the area of the brain responsible for addictions. This activity can lead some ex-smokers to relapse according to the article. It goes on to talk about the risks involved in smoking and why it is the #1 cause of preventative death.
I thought that this piece was a good example of popular media reporting on a scientific study and how that data can be skewed a bit. For instance, although this piece clearly advertises that this piece will be about smoking in movies and the brain, it was only a very brief section of the article amounting to a paragraph.
Apart from that, I thought the findings were very interesting. I think I would have preferred to look at where this information came from directly, but the link to the study is no longer active. The part that I found most interesting dealt with the movie being a cue for people to smoke so I did further research on cue reactivity. Cue reactivity deals with the phenomena of addiction having significant physiological and subjective reactions to the appearance of drug-related stimuli. These cues can either be drug-related (i.e. cigarettes, motion of smoking, etc.), and drug-neutral cues (i.e. pencil, eating, etc.).
Chapter 3 aids in understanding the article by give a background information of all of the processes that are possible within the brain. Additionally, in looking further into the article and looking at outside resources I came across several areas of the brain that the article was referring to. For example, the addiction areas of the brain that would have been more activated include the mesolimbic dopamine rewards pathway, right posterior amygdala, posterior hippocampus, ventral tegmental area, and medial thalamus. This tells us that the motivation to quit smoking is more than just a simple matter of a smoker waking up and deciding, “I’m going to quit smoking today.” It is more biological than it once was realized and the difficulty at which the smoker most control those smoking urges after quitting is more than realized as well.
Key Words: Addiction, cue reactivity, dopamine, amygdala, hippocampus

This article was about the effects smoking in movies plays on the viewers of these films. The main focus of the article was on how smoking in movies can trigger relapses in people that are attempting to quit smoking. By seeing someone in the film smoking it can trigger muscle memory in the viewer which can make them crave a cigarette. By the activation of the parts of the brain that are normally used when smoking, can play a role in the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which makes the person feel good. A small release of dopamine into the synapses could remind them of why they like cigarettes in the first place and make them crave cigarettes even more.
I learned a lot about how smoking in movies can increase the motivation of people to smoke. I have heard it mentioned before that smoking in movies is bad, but I just figured it was someone that thinks everything is bad complaining again. Reading about the research that has been done on the matter makes it apparent that maybe something needs to be done to decrease or eliminate smoking from movies. It would be tough to do but it might help people. If nothing else it would be beneficial to make the public aware to the effects of watching smoking on movies and television.
I think the most interesting thing to me is that even after someone quits smoking, just watching someone else performing the action of smoking can motivate their brain enough to activate the parts that are used in the task of smoking. It is surprising that the brain can motivate our behavior subconsciously.
The concepts from chapter three helped me to understand this article because I learned about how the brain can influence the motivations of our behaviors. The knowledge of how the different parts of the brain can affect our wants and likes also helped me to understand this article.
While reading this article I wanted to learn more about what makes smokers relapse. I learned that after the withdrawal stage of quitting smoking, it becomes mostly mental. In this stage there are a lot of things that can trigger relapse. For instance, anything the smoker associates with cigarettes or smoking can make them crave a cigarette and lead to a relapse. One way to deal with the relapse is to do something else immediately after getting a craving for a cigarette.
This information taught me that quitting smoking is mostly mental. I also learned that it is tough for people to fight off relapse because of the way our brain works. The way our brain can cause motivations for our behaviors can make it tough to avoid thinking about the positive effects of smoking like "feeling good" from the dopamine.

Terms: dopamine, neurotransmitter, synapse, relapse, and withdrawal.

This article, “Smoking in Movies: Why Your Brain Thinks It’s Cool” outlines the idea that just because you know smoking is bad, and want to quit, a lot of times your brain can’t control the addiction. Smoking is the number one preventable cause of the death. Many American’s make resolutions each year to quit their smoking habits, and yet only 5% out of the 50% who try and quit succeed. Out of the 5% who do succeed in quitting, tend to relapse back into their old habit within a year. The title of the article relates to the idea that smokers who see smoking in movies are more likely to get the urge to get up and light a cigarette because their body is so used to that learned response. That is why in this article The American Lung Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have called to put a stop to smoking in movies.

What I found to be the most interesting about this article was the idea that we have all sorts of products and therapies for smokers to use to help their habit and point them in the right direction toward quitting, such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum, help hotlines, and therapy sessions, but the shear glimpse of someone lighting up a cigarette can be tempting enough to get them to start smoking again. My question was why? Why is this behavior such a learned response? Our book talked a little bit about this dealing with motivation, but I decided to see what else I could find regarding this topic. One of the websites I came across called, A Choice 2 Live, talked about how in order for a smoker to reform and heal from addiction, they literally have to change the physiology of their brain and cure the disease, which is not an easy task. Addiction is based on the reward and memory of the brain. In chapter three, it talked about how our brain remembers experiences we enjoy in the environment based on the release of dopamine, as well as the ones that we don’t. Because smoking is something that the brain thinks is rewarding, and also something that the person likes, it is going to put that in the category of enjoyed experiences.

Our textbook talks about how the prefrontal cortex houses a person’s conscious goals. This can help to explain why quitting smoking can be so hard. These goals continuously are competing against one another. Thoughts that stimulate the right prefrontal cortex generate negative and avoidance feelings, while the left generates positive-oriented feelings. As you can see, these prefrontal cortexs are in contest battle with one another, just like wanting to quit or continue the addiction. Another brain area that may be responsible is the orbitofrontal cortex. This brain structure processes incentive-related information, which helps people make choices between options. So smokers have the option to quit, the incentive being it will be better for their health. Or, the option to continue smoking and satisfy their craving. The brain is very complex and also very powerful at controlling your actions that is why for so many it seems as if it is impossible to quit smoking forever.

Terms: addiction, motivation, reward, dopamine, right prefrontal cortex, left prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex

This article from The Huffington Post addresses the topic of smoking in movies, and how it has a greater affect that people have realized in the past. It admits that most Americans know that smoking is very bad for one’s health, but the addiction is more difficult to break, considering only 5% of the more than 50% that are trying to quit are able to achieve this goal (Picciotto, 2014). The article presents the fact that many have been trying to get smoking out of movies, due to the glamorizing of the nasty habit, but have been unsuccessful. However, research found that another negative repercussion, which is that visually watching a person smoke stimulates the part of the brain that is responsible for the ‘body movements’, a smoke makes multiple times per day (Picciotto, 2014). Ultimately, this means the body will be more likely to engage in the behavior that it would have been prior to seeing the movie, making it more difficult to quit and not pick up the habit again. Behavioral therapies and other treatments are easing the transition from smoker to non-smoker, however, the battle is a difficult one and better treatments will be seen in the future.
I enjoyed reading on this piece because smoking has been such a controversial matter and has severely changed its role in society throughout the last fifty years. Its popularity has depleted, and it seen more now as a faux pas than a common habit. I think it is good to see new research on a topic that has a health of research from the past but it not looked in to as in depth anymore. I though the article was able to tie together well the idea that smoking is not an easy addiction to break in the first place, but then adding the component of smoking in movies which activates the part of the brain that deals with addiction, giving up seems nearly impossible to do.
What was most interesting to me was that the CEO’s of tobacco companies were still denying their belief that nicotine was addictive just twenty years ago. It astounds me that smoking has been around for so long, and research of its addictiveness is extensive and the CEO’s were still nonbelieving. Another shocking fact was that still 20% of Americans smoke. I had no idea that one in five people still smoked, I previously thought it was less, more like 10%.

One topic that I would like to be able to learn more about is just how watching a person smoke activates those behaviors in a viewer’s brain. I would like to know if it activates more intensely in a person who has smoked in the past, in comparison to a person that has not smoked before? Also, does watching people in reality smoke have a similar affect as movies do? However, I did learn that the brain becomes more active when watching a smoker in film. It makes sense that visually grasping that would make it easier for my brain to reenact those same motions. I am also now aware that watching a smoker activates the part of the brain that is relations to addiction, which makes it easier to understand that will power alone will not work for the majority of smokers trying to quit.

Chapter 3 really did help me to understand how addiction is centered in the brain, and it is not just a person choosing to smoke, rather a behavior that has more motivation behind it. I knew more why addiction occurs, and the release of dopamine is the brain is what stimulates the good feelings behind the behavior, making it an approached behavior. By knowing the biological connections behind behavior, it is easier to grasp that addiction is not a choice, there are other motivations that are behind it.
Overall this information acknowledges that behavioral therapies are able to help many smokers give up the habit, but about half relapse after. This means that the motivation for the behavior is stronger than the motivation to give up the habit of smoking forever. Once a person’s motivation to not smoke becomes stronger than the drive to smoke than the relapse will not occur. The motivation to quit has to beat the former approached behavior, and the environment around the smoker in order to give up the habit for good.

Terms: addiction, motivation, brain, behavioral therapies, dopamine, stimulate, approach behavior, biological, drive, relapse

This article talks about smoking and how people who smoke are motivated to continue to smoke even if they think it is wrong. People know that smoking kills people (leading cause of death in US), but they still continue to do it. Some people believe that anyone can stop smoking if they just try hard enough, but this article mentions how only 5% of people quit smoking every year. Many of these people use the technologies and programs we have to try and stop smoking, but many relapse to smoking. Why is this? Because the nicotine is an addictive ingredient and triggers parts in the brain that make the person NEED to smoke.
People have tried to ban smoking in movies for years, but it still is in them. According to this article and the study by The Journal of Neuroscience, ex-smokers who watch a movie with smoking will often smoke again, because the movie reminds them of how good smoking made them feel and how it is so “cool to do” and that there may be some linkage of that to the brain. Most people acknowledge that smoking is addictive, but CEO’s of the companies say that it isn’t. Scientist and therapist will continue for years to come to figure out a way to stop people from smoking, but until then more people will continue what people call a bad habit.
I think this article had good informational facts and was very scientifically based. I do think they understood how smoking is an addiction, and unknowingly talked a lot about a person’s motivation to smoke Smoking is an intrinsic motivation for people. They do it because it makes them feel GOOD. I think it’s really intriguing how when an ex-smoker watches a movie with smoking in it, it motivates the person to start smoking again. I really wonder the true science behind that and exactly why a person would do it. Is it more internal motive or is it something biological?
The information from chapter three helps me understand this better because learning about how certain chemicals in our body and brain structures cause us to be motivated to do certain things. This information shows me how an addictive ingredient (nicotine) sparks interest in our brain and the rest of the body to crave and want to enjoy the feeling from the ingredient. However, a person can stop smoking if motivated or has a very good reason to stop smoking, which shows that there is an internal drive to stop too. Part of our motivation is biological, but we have to have an internal drive to do what we want to do.
Terms Used: Motivated, habit, scientist, intrinsic motivation, biological, chemicals, brain structures, addictivem feeling, internal drive

This article was about how smoking in movies can actually trigger a relapse in smokers as well as about how hard it is for addicts to quit smoking. Watching someone smoke in a movie can trigger those motions (lifting your arm up to put the cigarette in your mouth) in a smoker, or recovering smoking. Watching people do this motion in movies can actually cause a relapse in those that have quit smoking. The article also goes on to say that people know that smoking is bad but then poses the question what motivates people to keep smoking, or even start. And goes on to say that only about five percent of smokers who try to quit actually succeed. I thought that this piece was very interesting and many of the questions that were asked I have thought of myself. I also liked how they included statistics because even though I have seen those statistics before they still surprise me.
One thing I found particularly interesting is that seeing visual cues can trigger a response in a smoker. I clicked on the link in the article related to this and it lead me to a study that concluded that watching smokers in movies triggered reward and attention pathways in the smokers that were watching the movie (this did not happen with the non-smokers). Due to their reward pathway being activated the desire to smoke because they wanted to feel the reward that came with it. I found another study that concluded that “there is a direct link between viewing smoking scenes and immediate subsequent smoking behavior.” This study found that smokers were not only more likely to smoke during breaks between movies but those who viewed more smoking scenes before the experiment had begun, smoked more than those who had seen less ( However, I also found a study that did not show any linkage between watching a movie where people smoked and an intensified craving to smoke (
By reading chapter three I can better understand the physiology of why people want to smoke and cannot seem to quit. Nicotine causes dopamine-induced neural hypersensitization. Smoking makes the body more sensitive to dopamine which can cause the person to want to smoke more and also can explain why it is hard for them to quit. It is also hard to quit because smokers both like and want to smoke. The textbook states that the strongest reward happens when both liking and wanting are happening, since smokers experience both of these feelings it will make it hard to quit because the reward for smoking has been substantial. The article states that specific brain areas are responsible for making the motion of smoking happen when watching a movie that involves smoking. In chapter three it talks about the orbitofrontal cortex. This area of the brain is responsible in making choices between two different options when incentive related information is involved. I think that this area of the brain could be involved in the smoking process because the incentive is to smoke. When watching someone smoking in a movie it triggers the want to smoke and so the orbitofrontal cortex will have to make the decision to smoke or not to smoke. Even if this area is not involved in the specific movements of someone smoking it might be involved in the making of the decision to smoke.
All this information says that the motivation to quit smoking can be overturned by other motives. When a person quits smoking they usually experience some sort of withdrawal. By experiencing withdrawal a person with have the urge, or motivation to smoke, this can be greater than their urge to quit smoking. By seeing someone smoke in a movie, or real drive, the body can experience physiological functions that motivate you to smoke. The motivation to smoke can be unconscious so that the person does not even know that they are motivated to smoke until they have already relapsed. People can be motivated by two different that are contradictive, such as the motivation to lose weight but also the motivation to eat a piece of chocolate pie. If a person’s motivation to smoke is stronger than their motivation to quit, they are most likely going to continue smoking.
Key Terms: nicotine, orbitofrontal cortex, dopamine, dopamine-induced neural hypersensitization, incentives, unconscious

The article’s basis was about smoking in the movies and the effects it has on its audiences. The article talked about that many organizations, like The American Lung Association, are trying to remove smoking from the movies due to the effects that it can possibly have on the viewers. These organizations believe that when actors smoke, it portrays smoking as cool and increases the likelihood of children to start smoking. The article also talked about the statistics about those that do smoke and their likelihood to quit smoking. I found this article to be slightly dull, especially in the beginning. Learning about organizations trying to get smoking out of the media is a type article I have read time and time again in multiple health classes. However, I never looked at these articles from an emotional and motivational state point. When rereading this article, I began to think about the things we have learned so far in class. These organizations trying to get smoking in the movies removed have a will to get these actions out. The will the organizations have is a motivation based on logic, logic that smoking causes health issues. Another thing I found interesting was the statistics about those who smoke and those who quit smoking. The statistic that shocked me the most was that only 5% of the 20% of people that smoke succeed in quitting to smoke. With all the motivational talks, movies, therapy and other forms of types of quitting I figured the amount of those that successfully quit smoking would be larger. One thing I would like to learn more about is what helps these individuals to quit smoking. When researching this topic, I did not find a “correct” answer. I found a lot of websites that told me that there are “8 easy ways to quit smoking”, that involve willpower, motivation and persistence. However, I did find a drug that was said to stop the desire in the brain through blocking neurotransmitters. I also learned that when it comes to quitting smoking, or any activity in general, that it involves many environmental aspects as well. These environments can involve behavioral motivators, neurological motivators and cognitive motivators. These types of motivators include the environment around you, brain functions that are connected to motivation and the mental thoughts and wanting to quit. After reading chapter three, I learned that the brain has connection to the motivation to smoke or the motivation to quit through the different types of brain functions. I was able to read this article and understand what motivates and causes emotion, the cerebral cortex. All the information I have learned so far in this class has taught me that learning to quit smoking doesn’t only involve the desire and will to quit, but involves a mental, emotional and physical desire to quit.
Terms: will, motivation, persistence, neurotransmitters, behavioral motivators, neurological motivators, cognitive motivators, cerebral cortex, desire

The article begins taking about how the brain is involved with the addiction when it comes to smoking, and not only focus on it being a habit. It explained that when a smoker witness the action being done in a movie or on TV different areas of the brain are stimulated or triggered causing the individual to want a cigarette. It then explains that smoking is the leading preventable cause of death not only in the US but other countries as well. I liked this article solely because it didn't focus on smoking as just being a bad habit but further explained the addition aspect and the relation it has with the brain. An aspect of this article I decided to look further into was the areas of the brain that are linked to addiction. I learned that there are three specific influences on the brain caused by an addiction; (1) the craving, (2) loss of control over the situation, and (3) the consequences. I also learned that the brain recognizes all pleasure in the same way and as the book stated, deals a lot with the release of dopamine. Also even after reaching sobriety, no matter how long one has been sober, the learned behavior or conditioned behavior related to a specific object or person is what will initially trigger relapse. As did this article, the book explained motivational and emotional states associated with specific areas of the brain. So with addiction such areas would also be largely involved with what’s triggering the feelings of pleasure they experience when participating in such a behavior as smoking. I believe that everybody is addicted to something but when it comes down to an individual wanting to quit smoking there is a lot more to it than trying to break the bad habit. You have to change what’s going on in your brain and gradually wean yourself from the areas associated with the pleasure your receiving.
-Addiction: A strong and harmful need to regularly have something or do something
-Habit: An unusual way of behaving, regular and repetitive
-Craving: A very strong desire for something
-Dopamine: Pleasure seeking neurotransmitter in the brain
-Relapse: The return of an illness after a period of improvement

The article talked about the negative effects of smoking. Its main purpose was to discuss how smoking in movies on TV shows triggers a certain area in the brain, either making a non-smoker want to try or someone who is a recent quitter to try smoking again. A lot of people don’t understand why research is still being done about smoking because everyone knows it is addictive and bad for you. With this new research, it is easier explained why smoking is researched so much. It is beyond crazy that someone smoking a cigarette on the TV can influence someone so much.
Chapter 3 talked a lot about dopamine. Dopamine releases generate positive feelings. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. When something becomes addictive, the brain craves it. Dopamine is something that the brain craves. It is very interesting how people have these addictions, yet some people can overcome them. A lot of people about how it should be easy for a cigarette smoker to quit, but after reading this chapter and article, it makes sense why it is so difficult. After reading this article it makes me want to learn more about how these people quit smokers and some of the struggles they face. I would also like to figure out more about what goes on in the brain when it comes to quitting such an addiction.

The article discussed the addiction that is smoking and how it is not simply a “bad habit.” Saying that it is in fact a “bad habit” is only partially true. It is an addiction of the brain. It discussed how even seeing an individual on television smoking can cause an ex-smoker to want to light up a cigarette and relapse back into their nicotine addiction. It brought up the topic that even the lighting of the cigarette and moving it up to your mouth is so learned by a smoker/ex-smoker that even seeing someone else do it brings back the craving. I thought the most interesting part of the article was the discussion of visual images on a television screen causing an ex-smoker to relapse. It is very interesting how just seeing someone else smoke can trigger the parts of your brain linked to addiction.
The topic that I chose to dive into was just that, what parts of your brain are linked to addiction, and how exactly did this study work. I learned that in the study, the subjects were divided into two groups, non-smokers and nicotine deprived smokers. They were then shown images of people smoking, smoking neutral pictures, and rare target pictures (pictures of animals) and were told to hit the button whenever they saw a rare target. The fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) showed that the parts of the brain linked to addiction (the right posterior amygdala, posterior hippocampus, ventral tegmental area, and the medial thalamus) were activated in smokers when shown the pictures of smoking. Chapter three helped me a lot with my outside research especially. Already being familiarized with the different sections of the brain and their functions made the study easier to understand.
All of this taught me that motivation to quit smoking is not going to come from ads that remind you that you have quit with constant pictures of people smoking. People who are addicted need help to quit because it is an addiction that is really difficult to overcome. Each individual is different, and not everyone is going to find the same way to quit the easiest or the most effective. The motivation to quit is different in each individual smoker.
Key terms: Brain, addiction, fMRI, amygdala, hippocampus, motivation

This article focused on smoking as a bad habit linked to areas of the brain associated with addiction. It stated that even just watching someone smoke in a movie or TV show could possibly lead to relapse. The article expressed the concerns of showing smoking in movies. The concerns included the impact on children and their likelihood to start smoking along with the impact on former smokers picking up the habit again through brain structures being activated that have to do with habit and addiction. The biggest concern for this is the poor health side effects associated with smoking along with the addictive aspect of tobacco. The article stated that researchers seem to know that smoking is bad for your health and that it is addictive, but they’re not sure how to motivate people to quit smoking and how to keep them from relapsing.
It really surprised me that even just seeing the motion of someone putting a cigarette up to his or her mouth can trigger a possible relapse because the brain has learned that specific movement so well. I had no idea that learned movement like that could have such an impact on someone.
From the article, physical addiction and the actual repeated motion of smoking seem to have big impacts on smoking relapse. For example, my old horse trainer was a smoker for years and has tried to quit many times. She was usually successful until she got in a vehicle to drive. She was so used to that motion and habit of smoking in her truck, especially on long hauls to horse shows, that she ended up giving in and having a cigarette each time. The stimulus of driving always seemed to produce a reaction of smoking a cigarette. I found information on addiction through the American Society of Addiction Medicine ( which provided further information on “the power of external cues to trigger craving,” this could be why each time my horse trainer got in her truck she felt she needed to have a cigarette. The article then expanded into how the hippocampus and amygdala impact the external cue craving. The amygdala is associated with learning emotional associations and the hippocampus helps convert short-term memory into long term memory. Therefore the “good” emotional associating with smoking is placed into long term memory which is activated each time she goes to drive her truck.
This tells me that the motivation to quit smoking is very complex and has more to do with activation of brain systems than I originally thought. There are so many external and internal triggers to relapse that the motivation to quit smoking must overcome all of these in order to be successful.
Terms: Habit, Stimulus, Addiction, Motivation, Hippocampus, Amygdala

This was a very interesting article to read. It is surprising to me that they have not banned smoking in movies and TV shows. There have been several organizations that have tried to ban smoking in all movies and TV shows because of actors being role models for teens and kids. If a kid sees an actor smoking, then they will think that it really is not that bad and that it is cool. There is also another downfall to movies having the actors smoking-it is possible to trigger a specific part in the brain that makes people who have quit smoking want to light up one more time.
Obviously smoking is bad for you; we hear that every single day, multiple times a day. It’s no secret. So, why are people still choosing to smoke and get addicted, even though smoking cigarettes is the number one cause of death that is preventable in many countries all over the world? The author of this article also found out that smoking is a big factor in surgeries turning out bad and that smoking slows down the healing process of flesh wounds.
There are a lot of shocking statistics in this article. I didn’t know that 20% of adults in the United States smoke. And of those people, only 5% of them are successful at quitting. There are many ways that are helpful to quit smoking such as: CBT, the nicotine patch or gum, and medicines. These methods, however successful they may be at first, are not successful in the long run because over half of quitters resort back to smoking in their first year.
The part of this article that I found most interesting was the part that talked about smoking in movies. We really do not realize how much actors and movies influence our lives on a daily basis. This is especially true for children and adults who idolize certain actors and look up to them as role models.

The textbook explains that the prefrontal cortex is where someone’s goals (conscious) take place. This may by why quitting smoking is very difficult and fairly unsuccessful for most people. Also, the brain is the spot where addiction is based. If we did not have a brain, there would be no way to become physically and mentally addicted to something. Nicotine, which is the addicting substance found in tobacco products, increases how much dopamine is released into the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls the reward and pleasure that the brain has. That explains why people get addicted to tobacco. When people smoke, they get a sort of euphoric feeling and it makes them feel good.
I was interested in learning more about the effectiveness of ways to quit smoking. I found on that researchers have suggested that medicines and nicotine therapies can double or triple that person’s chances of quitting smoking. I think that is awesome. However, the article did not look at the other end of the spectrum that the first article touched base on. How long are the treatments effective for? What preventative measures should the person take so that they don’t crave another cigarette ever again? I would have liked to see more of those statistics. Overall, this assignment has really made me realize that when a person says they can’t quit smoking or they don’t want to quit, it’s not that they don’t have the motivation, it’s that they physically cannot quit because their brain will not let them unless they have the proper treatments.

Terms: addiction, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), prefrontal cortex, dopamine, nicotine, neurotransmitter

This article discussed smoking and how it actually may just be a “bad habit.” It explained that watching actors smoke in movies is likely to activate parts of the brain that make people want to smoke. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in most countries. It also stated that about less than 5% of people who try to quit smoking actually succeed. Those who do succeed generally relapse within one year.
I thought this article brought up good information regarding motivation and smoking. The article gets to the point without being judgmental of those who do smoke. I would have actually like to have read the study to find out more information. Thinking about this article though has made me realize that most movies/t.v. shows/commercials at least reference tobacco use.
What I found to be most interesting was that movies that reference tobacco use can have such an effect on the brain and motivation to smoke. Although we know what smoking can do to our health people still choose to do it. I believe that people can have enough willpower to quit smoking but if our society is telling us that its “cool” why would people motivate themselves to quit?
I was intrigued by medicines that can lower brain responses to stimuli that motivate people to smoke. I’ve heard of nicotine patches, and other therapies that work, but not of these types of medicines. What I found were two studies that focused on smoking cessation. Varenicline lowers withdrawal symptoms and the positive reinforcement people receive from the nicotine. I believe that due to the withdrawal symptoms is probably one of the main reasons people who stop smoking relapse after such a short period of time. The positive reinforcement makes them feel better and to keep getting that reinforcement they feel the need to keep smoking instead of finding a different outlet. Bupropion, another drug, was originally used to treat depression. Both studies used fMRI scans to determine if the drugs lowered brain responses when watching videos with smoking cues. What both studies found was that the drugs allowed smokers to withstand the urge to smoke when watching stimulating videos regarding smoking. The fMRI showed that the brain had a reduction of cue-induced activity in the limbic and the prefrontal parts of the brain.
I’ve never understood why people smoke. It smells, it’s expensive, and it is bad for you. However, chapter three helps me understand a little bit better. The bodies reaction to stress is released through cortisol. Some people smoke because it helps lowers their stress and anxiety. Some people get headaches when they try to quit smoking. When someone receives nicotine after not having it for awhile their headache goes away. The headache is caused by the hypersensitivity produced by dopamine that occurs in the brain because of all of the nicotine. Dopamine produces positive rewards which means lower anxiety, lower stress, and reduced headache. It makes sense that smokers continue to use after they have started. Due to the headaches, anxiety, and stress when people start the cessation process people want a cigarette, they may no longer like the taste of it but they still want it because of the partial reward that they get.
The information provided shows that people may have the motivation to quit but because of the dopamine stimulation caused by the nicotine it is more difficult to quit. The nicotine in tobacco is what makes them so addictive. The “high” smokers get when they smoke is the incentive for smoking.

Terms: Incentive, Dopamine Stimulation, Motivated, Cortisol, Dopamine, Hypersensitivity, fMRI, Limbic, Prefrontal, Brain, Positive Reinforcement, Brain Responses, Motivation, Like, Want,

This article explained how smoking is very difficult to quit due to the psychological processes involved. The reason why smoking is so difficult to quit is due to the fact that it activates areas in the brain that are involved with addiction. Many times the individuals sees smoking in movies or when other individuals are and it makes them want to smoke even more. There is an emotion aspect of smoking as well as a physical aspect. Each move that smokes make while smoking reinforces the action of smoking and makes it more addictive. Many individuals have tried to get smoking out of movies because they often glamorize it which makes children more likely to want to try it. Watching someone smoking not only causes children to want to try smoking it also makes smokers want to smoke more. Many individuals try to quit smoking each and every year. Many of them do not succeed due to the addictive aspects of smoking. It has been proven that behavioral techniques can help smokers quit smoking and reduce the frequency a relapse will happen in the future. Smoking is the largest killer in the Unites States.

I thought this article was very interesting. I was always taught that smoking is very addictive due to the chemicals that are in the cigarette specifically nicotine. I did not know that the actual physical movements of smoking was addictive. I also thought it was interesting to learn that smoking is the leading cause of death. I knew that it was high on the charts but I didn't know it outnumbered all of the leading causes of death combined. I have always been against smoking and I am now more than ever. After reading this article I do sympathize with the individuals who have tried to quit smoking and haven't succeeded. I often looked at them like they didn't try hard enough, but now I realize that it is more difficult than it seems. There are many aspects that are incorporated with quitting.

After reading the article I was very interested how often children and teenagers want to try smoking just because they saw it was glamorized on television and in their favorite movies. In an article by William Triplett for Vanity he reported that when teenagers see other teenagers smoking they often identify with them and try it themselves. Much action has been done to try and get smoking out of films that teenagers are going to be watching. Many TV shows have taken a precautionary step to make sure that smoking is eliminated from their shows. It has been suggested that any film that shows smoking, sexual behavior, drugs, or anything that may influence teenagers to be rated R so that parents know the material could be influential. I learned from this article that there are many different aspects why teenagers are often persuaded to try smoking just by watching it on television.

My understanding of chapter three made it a lot easier to understand this article. In chapter three there was a section just about addictions. I learned there that addictive drugs are potent reinforcers because the repeated usage produces hypersensitivity to dopamine stimulation. Once the individual experiences this heightened sensitivity to dopamine it can last for years which is why individual crave the drug they are addicted to. In the article it talked about different methods to quit smoking and in the text it also explained different methods to reduce addiction. The article also demonstrated the theory of liking and wanting. Even though the individual may not like smoking they may want to due to the motivational state they are creating. Smoking causes much pleasure to individuals. Smoking has to deal with the medial forebrain since it is the pleasure center of the brain. Smoking also has to deal with the activation of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Once the individual starts thinking about smoking dopamine is released until the individual is finished smoking.

Terms: External factors, reinforcers, addiction, dopamine, medial forebrain, neurotransmitter.

This article is about a new study that may explain one reason for why so many ex-smokers relapse when trying to quit smoking. The study shows that by watching someone smoke a cigarette (the physical movement of holding and taking a drag) parts of the viewer’s brain that controls body movements can be activated. This activation can make the ex-smoker crave the physical movements of smoking, potentially leading them to relapse. This new information, as well as the well-known addictive properties of nicotine, are two reasons why many organizations are trying to stop smokers before they start. Armed with this study, as well as the argument that children watching smoking in movies increases their likelihood to smoke, many organizations are calling for a ban of smoking in movies.

I found this article fairly interesting. I thought it was ridiculous and almost embarrassing that as of 1994, multiple major cigarette companies were claiming nicotine had no addictive properties, and now that we’ve gone beyond proving that and on to suggest that the physical movements themselves can be addictive. It seems that there is “nothing going for” people wanting to quit smoking. I am interested to look at research done on e-cigarettes, seeing as these allow the potential ex-smoker to maintain both the addictive movements as well as “satisfaction” of seeing smoke emit from the device.

I researched this topic a bit, and my findings were disheartening once again. Apparently e-cigs contain nicotine, which is heated, inhaled, and released as a vapor cloud. The FDA has conducted studies that among two of the most popular brands of e-cigarettes, finding varying amounts of nicotine as well as known carcinogens. This shows e-cigs may not be, as I thought, the healthiest alternative to smoking.

My understanding of the motivation to quit smoking is that it must be greater than two addictive (potentially more) qualities. One being a chemical addiction, and the other being physical, I can’t imagine either of these being easy to overcome by themselves, not to mention combined. I assume the motivation would have to be much greater than a casual attempt to quit, but rather an internal motivation to either better one’s self or personal achievement.

Terms: brain, addictive, motivation, internal motivation

This article discussed how smoking is a bad habit, which I think we all can agree. However, for someone who is a smoker and is addicted to cigarettes, I know that it goes deeper than that. Smoking and the nicotine involved , as discussed in chapter three, increase the level of the feel good neurotransmitter, dopamine, in your brain. Therefore, your brain counteracts after a someone starts smoking regularly by making less dopamine on its own, and beginning to rely on the cigarette and nicotine as a sort of dopamine supplier. Your brain will actually start increasing dopamine levels in just the anticipation of lighting up. But, addiction goes even further than that. Not does it affect dopamine in your brain, it also is a conditioned behavior, as discussed in the article. I can definitely believe what the article says about smoking in movies or on television. When you see someone on the big screen light up a cigarette, the urge can instantly hit you. However, I do not think taking smoking out of movies or television programs is the answer. To quit smoking is a challenge and there will be obstacles and challenges to overcome at every corner. For example, walking down the street and seeing someone light up, co-workers going out for smoke breaks, the smell of cigarettes, or drinking at a bar are all times when the urge to smoke a cigarette can occur. And, as bad as smoking is for your health, it is legal and there are only so many ways for the government to try and reduce or regulate it.

I actually quit smoking a few years ago. I quit cold turkey for about three months, then in the situations I described above, the little challenges, I began to falter. I was one of the 50% of smokers to relapse within a year. However, it was not only the nicotine from the cigarette that I craved, but more so the actual behavior of smoking. As gross as it sounds, that’s what I really missed. Even to me its baffling. I know how harmful cigarettes are and how many lives it takes every year, but the condition behavior still wins me over.

Chapter three helped me more so understand the scientific aspect of smoking and how it affects the neurotransmitters in your brain, and in turn the motivation to smoke. However, I wish to understand why even though we know this act can kill us, how is the motivation to smoke greater than being motivated to save our lives? I also wish to learn of more ways to try and quit smoking, or is it truly just mind over matter to be a complete non-smoker? Will the transition of going from a smoker to a non-smoker be a lifelong battle against biological factors and social influences, or will there be a point where the urge is completely subsided?

Terms: dopamine, neurotransmitters, brain, motivation

This article was about smoking and how the views of smoking in movies and TV shows have skewed the views of smoking as a whole. Not only this, but the psychological and physiological reasoning behind it. I thought that overall this article was interesting however, I do not smoke nor have I ever wanted to. This made it kind of hard to associate the feelings and triggers people get when watching a movie or something on TV when someone is smoking on screen. I think my overall favorite part of the article was the comments at the end where people commented things like “after reading this all I want to do is smoke” and “smokers are weak, smelly and addicted” followed by someone else’s comments saying “… and cooler than a non-smoker.”
I think the most interesting thing I found in this article was the amount of difficulty that individuals have with relapsing after “successfully” quitting smoking. I’m sure that if I smoked I would understand this concept better, but for the time being I would just say “why don’t they just quit?” However, it is something that I find interesting. With that, this is the topic I would like to research a bit more and gain knowledge about because of my great lack of information I can pull from for educated opinions.
I found another article on the Huffington post page that talked about “what to do when you ‘just can’t quit’.’ This article was very intriguing to read because it was literally what I set out to find. I wanted to know why people have a hard time cutting it cold turkey and that is what I got. I found out a variety of more smoking statistics in this article and I also found out some different reasons both for physical reasons and cognitive. What I didn’t expect was this: when an addict ‘The addiction itself destroys smokers’ confidence that they can quit.’ From the readings I did in chapter three and the research and reading I did for this blog post this week it now makes sense that smokers have a hard time dropping this bad habit for a number of reasons. I have grown to be a bit more understanding of the challenges that they face when quitting and the psychological reasoning behind this.
Terms: Neurotransmitter, dopamine, stimuli, addiction.

Reading the article, “Smoking in Movies: Why Your Brain Thinks it's Cool” had informed me that the old saying about smoking being a “bad habit” is partially right according to research. This article talked about how the brain is affected while you are smoking or even when you are watching someone smoke a cigarette. The article also mentioned the statistics on death from smoking in comparison to AIDS, motor vehicle accidents, murder, illegal substances, etc. They also talked about the amount of people who have tried to quit smoking and how many were successful and the struggles that come along with trying to quit something that can be so addictive.

It is very hard for me to read things about smoking individuals and wonder why people do it, I have never seen someone smoking and thought, “Yes! I definitely want to put that cancer stick in my mouth” However, this article is all about how seeing people, especially famous people smoking is supposed to trigger certain responses in your brain telling you that you want to do it also. It was very interesting that 443,000 deaths each year are attributed to smoking cigarettes and is the leading cause of preventable death, how is this form of addictive drug still legal in the United States if it is so deadly?
I would like to learn more about the neurotransmitters that are involved when smoking a cigarette or what makes you want to smoke a cigarette when you see someone else smoking one. Is it the dopamine that is released that makes smoking a cigarette so desirable? What motivates a person to pick up a cigarette or what motivates a person who is trying to quit smoking, relapse and pick up a cigarette when they see someone else smoking a cigarette?

One of the things that the reading in chapter three helped me to understand was that, when someone smokes a cigarette and dopamine is released into the body and positive feelings are associated along with the dopamine released from chemicals in the cigarette and that makes you want to continue to do it and when someone else is smoking one you want one as well because you know the good feelings that come along with it. Basically, how this works is when you smoke a cigarette for the first time maybe, dopamine is released and circulated into the brain circuit, the dopamine then stimulates the limbic structures, and then you receive that aroused emotion of feeling good, this can create an internal motivation to want to continue smoking cigarettes. Chapter three looked at the brain in many ways and helped me to understand why someone might be internally or externally motivated to smoke a cigarette and to continue to do so. Chapter three broke down very crucial areas of the brain and identified what each of them did, such as; the hypothalamus (regulates biological functioning eating, drinking, and sex), the Orbitofrontal cortex (which helps you consider your options), or the amygdala (which helps you decode facial expressions, your own mood, and other peoples emotions).

The motivation involved in trying to quit smoking has to be very difficult. I'm sure we have all seen or known people who are trying to quit the “bad habit” and the stress and cortisol levels in their bodies raise to where they are irritable and grouchy all of the time. These people have to watch other on television and in real life smoke cigarettes in front of them and have to battle an episode of a relapse, that is like drinking soda in front of me after I just gave it up for lent! If I don't have caffeine after a couple of days, I get very terrible headaches and give in to drinking soda to get rid of the head ache...and even if its not the caffeine giving me the headache, drinking the soda will trick my mind into healing itself and that is the power of the brain for you!

Terminology Used: Dopamine, Neurotransmitters, Want, Addictive, Motivate, Relapse, Internal Motivation, Limbic Structures, Hypothalamus, Orbitofrontal Cortex, Amygdala, Cortisol.

This article is all about smoking and how smoking in films can trigger relapses in those that have quit. In summary the article states that the simple process of watching someone reach for a cigarette activates an area of the brain that triggers the muscle memory so the soon to be non ex smoker reaches for a cigarette. That starts a chain reaction in the brain in that wants the pleasure that the nicotine gave them. So by slowly releasing some dopamine into the system you get that urge that a cigarette would be great. Then after deciding to buy a pack and smoke more dopamine is released into the system and thus you crave that pleasurable feeling again. So then you've relapsed and are smoking again.
To break this down a bit into the ABC form, the antecedent is watching a movie or just seeing someone smoking, the behavior is smoking and the consequence is the dopamine rush from the nicotine. The dopamine rush acts as a reinforcer so that someone will continue to smoke.
I followed up with another article from Epoch and it was about how the Surgeon General wanted to put all films with smoking in them to have an "R" rating which would restrict the viewers of the movie to either be with an adult or over the age of 16/17. This was suggested that because children and teens are very easily swayed to what someone tells them is cool. As they want to fit in with the "cool" crowd and see the popular actor or actress light up they'll want to emulate that behavior. So by preventing them access to movies with smoking they think they'll lower the numbers of teen smokers and hope that parents will also have serious discussion about the effects of smoking. While I think that could be a great idea, in theory that seems to be rather drastic. While you don't see many cigarette ads on TV anymore, alcohol is still rather prevalent these days and are still in the movies. I saw a preview the other day for a new disney movie that was rated PG,featured an actor prominently drinking scotch. What I'm getting at is if they were to do this, than it would open up a whole new can of worms with alcohol, then spread to violence and vulgarity etc. I believe that we look at the rating PG to PG-13 mean parental guidance. So generally you would need to have a parent with you to see this movie or be of age. I believe it would be on the parents to have this talk with their children so that they know about what could happen as a consequence to the choice of smoking.
I will say that the subject of smoking in media and the potential for its triggers were what interested me the most in this article. Chapter 3 helped me in understanding how certain actions trigger hormone activations that we can't really stop through nothing other than sheer will or by changing the behavior through modification. This article has taught me that when smoking the motivation must be of the highest priority to quit because there's a constant reminder to how good it is to smoke around every corner.

The article focused on some of the many reasons that people have difficulty quitting smoking. Oftentimes, nonsmokers will criticize those who have failed to quit and claim that they do not have enough will power. This article points out that smoking is indeed an addiction and it is very difficult to overcome with sheer will power. Smoking causes changes in the way that your brain works. Simply viewing people smoking in movies also causes changes in your brain, which I found very surprising. Smoking is an interesting case in the study of motivation because almost everyone knows that it is unhealthy but many people continue to do it. Those who do want to quit have an incredibly difficult time of it as well.
I find the concept of will power to be very interesting. Everyone has varying levels of it and everyone employs it differently. Newer research suggests that will power acts like a muscle. It can be fatigued and it can be strengthened. For example, if a person uses a lot of will power to resist smoking for the majority of the day they might have a more difficult time resisting eating dessert. Will power can also be strengthened through practice and positive reinforcement. While this is especially important when it comes to quitting smoking, I think it is important to look at this as an issue of well-being for everyone. More control of your will power could greatly increase quality of life and happiness with decisions.
In regards to chapter 3, this article relates to a few areas of the brain. First, it affects the pleasure center of the brain. Smoking is a pleasurable experience for the majority of people and it is not surprising that there would be activity in this area. Second, the frontal cortex plays a role. Most smokers consciously understand the consequences of their decision. This type of planning and higher order thinking takes place in the frontal cortex.
Terms: Will power, pleasure center, frontal cortex

This article describes not only the dangers of smoking cigarettes, but how the mere act of seeing someone else smoke triggers a very strong compulsion to smoke in those who are addicted. The article also talks about the implications of smoking in movies. The most common conception was that smoking should not be in movies because of the modeling potential of children. While this still may be a danger, the main concern of the article is the triggering of relapse behaviors in those people who are trying to quit smoking. I found the idea of feeling a compulsion to do an action you have done repeatedly in the past merely by watching someone else do that action very interesting. When I first read on this concept in the article, I wondered if the same principle would apply to an action that is not as addictive as smoking cigarettes. However, after an extensive search on the internet, that concept is not very easy to put into words or to search for on Google. So I decided to look at the areas of the brain that are affected by smoking. From my research, it seems that nicotine affects some of the “reward system” brain structures of the brain. These structures include the ventral tegmental area, the nucleus accumbens, and the prefrontal cortex. It would seem to me that when one becomes sufficiently addicted to nicotine, the nicotine somehow triggers these brain structures into releasing dopamine or some other biochemical agents in such a way that people become addicted to the source of the nicotine. I’m still rather confuses as to how this actually works, but I can conceptualize how one could feel compelled to pick up their smoking habits again after observing someone in real life or in movies smoking themselves. This idea is definitely more clearly understood to me by means of having read Chapter 3 of our book. The three components of brain activity are there: the outside stimulus, the biochemical agents, and the brain structures all working together to produce motivation and behavior. I would not have as easily understood this process if I had not read Chapter 3, even though I still have questions on the subject. Overall, I can see from this information that people need a very positive environment geared towards their success in dropping the habit of smoking; otherwise, the odds of the habit being dropped are not in their favor.
Terms: biochemical agents, nucleus accumbens, ventral tegmental area, prefrontal cortex

The article argues that watching people smoke in movies activates the same brain structures that drive the body movements associated with smoking. So, simply watching someone smoke makes people who have quit smoking more likely to relapse by activating those old habits in the brain. The argument by anti-smoking agencies to take smoking out of movies has been that it glorifies the act and makes it seem "cool". But, when brain areas that are linked to the physical habits of smoking are activated, looking cool isn't the viewers concern. It may give them the urge to repeat the habit of picking up a cigarette and taking a drag.
Why is it so bad to risk making ex-smokers relapse? Because smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. and most other countries. The article also claims that smoking reduces the body's ability to perform natural healing processes and may prevent wounds from healing altogether.
A few solutions are offered in regards to how to quit smoking. Methods of behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication can aid in the quitting process. Even with successful treatment, 50% of ex-smokers will relapse within the first year. This is due to the powerful addictive properties of nicotine.
I believe this article marks the beginning of many new studies to test the changes in brain activity experienced by our body's response to watching a person smoke. The most interesting part of this article to me was the claim of medication that decrease the brain's response to images of smoking that would give an ex-smoker the urge to relapse. I decided to do some additional research on that type of medication.
I learned that anti-smoking medications curb cravings by reducing brain activation in areas associated with cravings (limbic and prefrontal regions). The changes in brain activation are measured using FMRIs and PET scans.
Understanding the content of chapter 3 helped me understand this article because it gave me a context for the different areas of the brain and which are responsible for encouraging pleasure, craving, and incentive-driven behaviors. I have learned that it is easy to be distracted from the motivation to quit smoking. Simply seeing someone else do it can activate the same areas that are linked with the physical actions of smoking a cigarette, thus giving ex-smokers the craving to relapse. Though internal motivation may be strong, external events like watching a movie with smoking content propose a distinct threat to push quitters back to square one.
Terms: brain, habit, addiction, relapse, motivation, behavioral therapy, CBT, Limbic region, Prefrontal cortex, fMRI, PET scan, internal motivation, external events

This article talks about smoking tobacco. It discusses some of the negative health effects, reasons for starting, and possible reasons for relapsing after having cut the habit. I have to admit that before reading the article I was wondering just how much I was going to learn from it. I suppose I was one of the people that the author talks about in her first few sentences. One of the most surprising things to me that the author stated was that smoking " smoking prevents wounds from healing and is a major reason for poor outcomes of surgery or fractures". I have been told of the negative effects of smoking pretty much my whole life and that fact has never once come up. It also surprised me that the author's reasoning as to why movies might influence people to start or continue smoking only encompassed roughly half of the whole article, with the other half taken up by the same health statistics and warnings I have seen time and again. I would have liked it if the article went into more depth on the science behind its expanation. It didn't help that the link provided in the article led to a dead webpage.

The thing I chose to find more information about from the article was the fact that smoking is one of the main reasons for poor surgery outcomes and fractures. This was the most surprising information that I learned from the article. I found another article focused on the effects of smoking on osteoporosis and other musculoskeletal issues. This article confirmed what the smoking article claimed about smoking leading to more fractures and it also expanded on why this happens. The article said that smoking weakens bones by reducing the blood supply to bones and other tissues, slowing the production of bone-forming cells, decreasing the absorption of calcium, and seemingly breaking down estrogen in the body more quickly, which is important to the skeletal system.

Chapter three helps me to understand this article in many ways. One of these is thanks to the chapter's discussion on dopamine. The article discusses watching people smoking in movies activating brain areas that drive the body movements a smoker makes. This movement is ingrained in the smoker even though they have quit or are trying and can cause them to relapse into smoking again. The reasoning behind this would best be attributed to a release of dopamine in the subject's brain when seeing the familiar movements in movies, which the subject has associated with the pleasure and reward felt from the nicotine in cigarettes when they had smoked also. This could release dopamine into the subject's system even though they aren't they one performing the movements as their brain is coded to associate them with forthcoming reward, and therefore would release dopamine in response. The discussion of various parts of the brain in chapter three also helps my understanding of the article, with the medial forebrain bundle coming to mind the most while reading the reasoning in the article. The medial forebrain bundle was referred to in the chapter as the "pleasure center" of the brain and is very closely related to the hypothalamus which also likely plays a large part. Stimulation of the medial forebrain bundle causes animals to act as if they have recieved positive reinforcement, such as their favorite food or in this case a cigarette. Overall, this article helps to show that being motivated and succeeding in something such as quitting smoking isn't always as easy as just having the willpower and drive to do so, as various physiological factors can greatly impact our success.

Terms: dopamine, medial forebrain bundle, hypothalamus, physiological factors

This article described why some smokers have such a hard time quitting. Smoking in movies makes it easy for smokers to relapse because the brain is so adaptive to the habit of smoking. Not only do movies activate areas of the brain linked to addiction, but they also activate areas of the brain that cause the physical movements of smoking. This is a problem because smokers make these movements numerous times on a daily basis and they are very familiar with these movements. These physical body movements are so learned in smokers, that even seeing the movements in movies can trigger the responsible areas in the brain and cause a smoker to relapse. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in most countries and this is why the Centers for Disease Control and the American Lung Association are working so hard to keep smoking out of movies. I found it interesting to learn that in the U.S. about 20% of Americans are smokers, and about 50% of these attempt to quit with only about 5% succeeding. This article suggests that behavioral therapies may be helpful to smokers who are trying to quit. These types of therapies include help lines, cognitive behavioral therapy, nicotine replacement therapy, or medicines that can reduce brain responses to images that remind ex-smokers of cigarettes.

I think that this problem is very real in the U.S. I think about all the movies I watch that have smoking in them and although I have never been a smoker, I can imagine how tempting it would be for someone who has smoked and is trying to quit. It was interesting to me that even just watching the act of smoking on TV could contribute to a smokers relapse. When I think about smokers relapsing, I picture them being surrounded by smokers, smelling it, and being peer pressured by the situation. It is very interesting that smokers don’t even have to be around it to think about relapsing.

I decided to do more research on cognitive behavioral therapy. From what I just read, I think that this therapy or nicotine replacement therapy would be most effective since the problem comes from brain area activations. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients become aware of negative or inaccurate thinking, so they can view the situation more clearly and respond to it effectively (Mayo Clinic, 2013). This could be applied to a smokers situation because when they are challenged by seeing someone smoking and think they need a cigarette, basically, they can learn that they don’t need the cigarette and they can find effective strategies to talk themselves around it. Mayo clinic (2013) suggested that cognitive behavioral therapy is most effective when combined with other treatments, and in this case this would be a good opportunity to use nicotine replacement therapy as well.

After reading chapter 3 and this article, I was not surprised by what I read. Chapter 3 told us that the brain is the center for motivation and emotion. It is in the brain where cravings, desires, needs, pleasures, and emotions are generated. One of the major focuses in the brain is mapping out different brain structures and determining which motivational state they are associated with. This article indicated that when a smoker watches the act of smoking, certain brain structures are activated. They are initially activated from external events and stimuli, which send neurotransmitters and messages to a specific structures of the brain. From what I learned in chapter 3 I think the amygdala is a major structure involved in this process. This structure is the motivation and emotion center and it detects and responds to emotionally significant events. This article taught me that in some cases smoking is so addictive that it is very hard to keep a smoker from relapsing due to their daily surroundings. This is the case because the brain is so trained in the act of smoking and the brain of a smoker desires and craves the nicotine. These desires are what motivate the smoker to relapse. This is why I think that when individuals are trying to quit smoking they need to use some kind of behavioral therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

Terms Used: Amygdala, Addiction, Neurotransmitters, External Events, Stimuli

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2013). Cognitive behavioral therapy. Retrieved from:

The Smoking article from the Huffington Post discusses a recent study from The Journal of Neuroscience. There are two major beliefs in America on the difficulties of quitting smoking. One is that smoking is simply a bad habit, that smokers can quit if the really try. The other is that watching movies activates the areas of the brain linked to addiction. The physical act of smoking is such a well-known learned behavior that simply viewing it (for example, in a movie), puts a quitting smoker in danger of relapse. While it is understandable for organizations such as the American Lung Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to call for a ban on smoking in movies, I don’t find this realistic. As the article states, tobacco company CEOs have testified, “I believe nicotine is not addictive.” Although I find this argument appalling, it is their right to manufacture a competitive product, as well as the citizen’s right to choose to buy it. Despite our vast knowledge of the drastic health effects of smoking, it is still the “leading preventable cause of death in most countries.” The article closes with some hopeful thoughts. We know nicotine is the stimulant within cigarettes which make them addictive, and simply viewing smoking behavior makes it extremely difficult for smokers (ex- or not) to stick to their resolutions. This may indicate hope for various cognitive and behavioral therapies for the future.
I was surprised by the statistical data in this article. On television, you see many drug therapies to help quit smoking available. Of course, these advertisements always have plenty of individuals who have struggled for years to quit smoking, until they tried the advertised therapy and haven’t wanted to smoke since. Perhaps because I have simply not been exposed to the devastating experience of addiction or relapse, I don’t quite understand this. Until reading this article and the section in the book on addiction, I have pretty much assumed quitting is a matter of willpower: if you try hard enough, you will succeed. I suppose this may be true for some people, however the book explains another aspect of addiction which makes it difficult for many to quit despite having the willpower to do it. As the book explains, nicotine is a psychostimulant. Like many addictive drugs, it causes ‘dopamine-induced neural hypersensitization’. This process means nicotine sensitizes brain structures like the nucleus accumbens, producing greater dopamine stimulation than a natural reward. This makes the smoking behavior more attractive to the smoker, because the stimulation experienced when smoking is greater than almost anything else.
I found some of the statistics listed interesting, and also a little bit confusing, so I went to the CDC Smoking & Tobacco Online Fact Sheet. There it states, in 2010 over 50% of adult smokers tried to quit, although almost 70% of adult smokers want to completely quit smoking. This seems like a large discrepancy to me. If a smoker reports wanting to quit, couldn’t he or she simply try? I also discovered tobacco use causes 5 million deaths per year globally, a trend that is on the rise. Smoking is also responsible for one in five deaths per year, a figure in excess of 400,000. It estimated approximately 50,000 of these deaths is caused by secondhand smoke. Finally, I found the average smoker dies ten years sooner than the average nonsmoker.
These facts astound me, particularly regarding secondhand smoke. I think we are very fortunate in Iowa to have no smoking laws in public venues. Unfortunately, I have had several relatives with debilitating diseases caused by smoking, including all listed by the CDC: cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease (such as emphysema and bronchitis). It is very hard to watch loved ones suffer with these diseases. Until now, my family has seen the solution to quit smoking to be simple. I now know that it is not.
The information in Chapter 3 has helped me understand the article, as well as the motivation to quit smoking. I have learned that it is not only up to the smoker’s willpower to desire to quit, they must be very careful of their exposure to others smoking, even on television or movies, because these can awaken the addiction in the brain. It is also important that their wanting and liking motivational states are both limited. Wanting is a state which occurs prior to receiving the reward, the motivational state limited by most drug therapies. Liking is the state which occurs after the reward, basically the feeling of enjoyment after smoking, for example. These states can occur separately or together, however to fully experience the reward, wanting and liking must occur together (Reeve, 66-67).

Terms used: Psychostimulant, addiction, nucleus accumbens, brain structure stimulation, neural hypersensitization, reward, motivational state, behavioral therapy, wanting, liking

This article talked about how current smokers and previous smokers may possibly be tempted to smoke a cigarette after watching an actor or actress smoke in a movie. When smokers view someone in a movie smoking, it activates areas in their brain that are linked to addiction. The movies that have people smoking could actually motivate people in real life to smoke a cigarette. The article also talked about several different health risks associated with smoking and gave examples of things that smokers who want to quit could try.
I thought it was pretty crazy that when smokers see someone smoking in movies it can activate areas in their brain that motivate them to smoke. I already knew that watching someone smoke in a movie could cause a smoker to want to smoke, because I’ve observed this many times from my one of my roommates. I never thought about why seeing people in movies would cause someone to want to smoke. The most interesting thing to me was that it actually activates areas in the brain related to addiction.
One thing in the article I wanted to learn more about was cognitive behavior therapy. The article listed this as a way to increase a smoker’s chances of quitting. I learned that cognitive behavior therapy is a psychotherapy technique that focuses on identifying negative thoughts and developing new ways of thinking about situations. During cognitive behavior therapy, patients work with a trained therapist to talk about problems and learn ways to cope with their emotions. Clients learn to deal with stress and avoid unhealthy thoughts and behavior.
I think that reading chapter three helped to understand this article. Some of the areas of the brain linked to motivation are probably some of the same areas that are activated when a smoker sees someone smoking in a movie. While reading this article, I linked it to chapter three in the textbook by wondering if seeing someone smoke in a movie caused smokers to crave the dopamine that would be released if they smoked a cigarette. I also wondered if it was possible for dopamine to be released just by watching the person in the movie smoke.
This article taught me that finding the motivation to quit smoking could be very challenging. I see people smoking almost every day, no matter where I go. If just seeing people smoking a cigarette can cause different areas of the brain to activate and make someone crave a cigarette, it would be really hard to quit.

Terms: motivation, emotion, dopamine, behavior, addiction

This article goes over how smoking in movies can help to cause relapse in ex-smokers. It can also cause current smokers to reach for a cigarette as they watch it on screen. When smokers and ex-smokers watch a movie with a scene of a person smoking then their brain reacts to the movements on screen that they are so used to doing, like seeing someone take a drag from a cigarette can cause them to crave one right then and there. Also, by showing smoking on screen it increases the likelihood of children to start later on because they conceive it as cool.
I strongly agree with this article, I do not think smoking should be in the movies, and if it is then it should automatically be rated R. I have witness when hanging out with friends that during smoking scenes, they will in fact excuse themselves and go outside for a smoke. So when reading this article I knew exactly what they were referring to.
In all honesty, this article did not teach me anything new. It just reiterated what I already had common knowledge of.
I can see how this article relates to chapter three because of how our brain reacts when approached with certain stimulus. In this instance the person would see the behavior on the screen (smoking) then the neurotransmitters would send messages throughout the brain activating the sense of needing to smoke. The same thing could happen if a person saw someone eating, then they too may want to eat something.
This just goes to show that if you really want to quit smoking then you need to remove yourself from any unwanted stimulus, whether it is certain movies, shows, friends, or even places that remind you of smoking. If you stay away from these places and people then you are less likely to relapse.

Terms: motivation, behavior, neurotransmitters, stimulus,

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