Are Smokers More Risky?


Smokers smoke cigarettes on a regular basis and it does not mean they are fully addicted to nicotine. Most of smokers are capable to quit but they do not do it. Why?

It does not mean they are uninformed about smoking effects on the body. Studies prove that tobacco smokers are wll informed on the subject as nonsmokers do, and possibly even much more.

You will probably think that it is in smoker’s character to risk and you will be right. Some data proves that smokers do take more risks than nonsmokers. For example, smokers are more frequently involved in accidents, most of them do not like to use seat belts and may be engaged in risky sexual behavior.

However, specialists  do not believe in smokers passion for risk. They rely on scientific explanations of the problem. This month was published a study in the journal PLoS One, and it concludes that the personality feature that tells smokers from nonsmokers is their incapacity to delay satisfaction and respect long-term considerations.  Here the talk is about their poor self-control.

The key to the study is a card game known as the Iowa gambling task, that is used to measure taking risks. You are presented with 4 decks of cards. For example, every card shows a financial outcome: “You won $200,” or “You lost $350,”. Your major task is to keep picking cards from whichever decks you would like while you try to won as much money as you can.

The main thing is that the decks have various payment distributions: 2 of them give higher risk but long-term total losses; the other 2 decks provide lower risk but long-term gains. Most players, after choosing several cards from different decks, learn to stick with the 2 “good” decks and end up faring well.

Studies have shown that individuals with brain lesions affecting decision making tend to favor the “bad,” riskier decks and fare poorly. Same thing  is true of chronic cannabis and cocaine users.However, when smokers and nonsmokers make the Iowa gambling task there are no big differences between them. It was proved by the psychologist Carl Lejuez and his colleagues. This strongly suggests that smokers are not tolerant of risk.

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