People with aggressive tendencies may be more likely to smoke and become addicted to nicotine. Research led by psychiatrist Steven Potkin at the University of California at Irvine found that nicotine can trigger powerful bursts of activity in certain brain areas, but only in people who easily get angry.
The study involved 86 smokers and non-smokers who were given either low- or high-dose nicotine patches or a fake patch. The brain activity of the participants was measured as they worked on certain tasks. Potkin and his colleagues found that nicotine made those with angry personalities more aggressive, even at low doses. The same was seen in people who were non-smokers. However, there was no effect on people who were more relaxed by nature. Researchers said additional studies are needed to confirm the link between anger and smoking addiction, reports &to=http://www.jointogether.org' target=_blank>Jointogether.org
The scientists found that the drug stimulated parts of the brains of those with aggressive tendencies, even at low doses. The same was true for people who did not usually smoke.
But more relaxed people did not show the same brain activity in response to the nicotine. At the same time, the nicotine actually made the angry personalities more aggressive. Dr Potkin said: "They may smoke to feel better, but they don’t feel better."
Scientists suggested that the findings could explain why many teenagers take up smoking, at a time when hormonal changes can lead to increased feelings of anxiety or aggression. But more research is needed to prove the links between aggression and smoking addiction, scientists said, informs &to=http://www.scotsman.com' target=_blank>Scotsman