Laugh Your Way To Quitting Smoking
If you've tried the patch, gum or hypnosis and still can't quit smoking, there's a new approach.
NewsChannel5 reports that researchers have found that using laughing gas can help people kick the habit.
Gabriele Ritzheimer was a smoker for 25 years.
Every time she would try to quit, she couldn't.
"I tried the Nicorette gum. I tried the patch," says Ritzheimer. "I tried hypnosis, biofeedback and none of them worked."
I'm a police officer and I work patrol. When I was under stress, it was a chain-smoking experience."
WEWS says that she finally joined a study using nitrous oxide, and was able to kick the habit.
Nitrous oxide is commonly used for dental anesthesia, but studies show the gas gives the brain a shot of dopamine, a feel-good hormone. This is the same hormone released when smokers light up.
"When they stop using the nicotine, they will have many withdrawal symptoms," says Dr. Jesse Haven, a family practitioner. "What the nitrous oxide does is it curbs these symptoms."
On the day a patient chooses to quit, they are given a 23-minute treatment of nitrous oxide and oxygen to reduce cravings.
The giddy feeling ends soon, but results show the effects on the brain last longer.
"So, it's kind of hitting those same neurotransmitters in the brain that the nicotine does," Haven says.
Smokers smoked 85 percent less cigarettes in those following three days, and 40 percent of patients quit completely.
WEWS says that it's been two months since Ritzheimer quit smoking, and she has no plans to start again.
More research is needed to study the long-term effectiveness of laughing gas, but it has been used in other countries to ease withdrawal symptoms of alcohol or drugs.