Washington: If you made a new year resolution to no longer take those tobacco puffs, tweak your plans a bit as a new study says that it's better to quit smoking gradually rather than at once.
Though smoking is harmful in almost every respect, and causes hoard of health related issues like cancer, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases, a new Danish research suggests that smoking initially increases brain activity.
However, the brain tissue quickly adapts and the effect will disappear. On the other hand, according to brain scans, the brain's oxygen uptake and blood flow decreases by up to 17 precent immediately after people stop smoking.
Brain scans suggest that regular smokers experience an almost dementia-like condition in the early hours after quitting, which can be quite an unpleasant experience, and is probably one of the reasons why it can be very difficult to quit smoking once and for all.
Smokers drift back into abuse, perhaps not to obtain a pleasant effect - that ship has sailed - but simply because the withdrawal symptoms are unbearable, says Professor Albert Gjedde at the University of Copenhagen.
The researchers compare the nicotine in tobacco smoke with other pharmacologically active substances.
After a period of time, many users of medicine will no longer experience an effect from treatment - for example with antidepressants. However, the consequences of discontinuing treatment could still be overwhelming if the withdrawal symptoms are very unpleasant, said Gjedde.
Habitual smokers seemingly need to continue smoking just to keep their brain functioning normally. With time, they may become less dependent on smoking, but the researchers still do not know how long it takes before the brain of a former smoker has regained its normal energy consumption and blood flow.
The results are published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism.