Program takes viewers inside a brain lab to show the latest research about the effects of nicotine on the brain. A neuroscientist explains how smoking affects brain chemistry and how dopamine and the brain’s reward pathways reinforce tobacco use. Interviews with teen smokers deliver the message that smoking can lead to dependence and addiction; that cravings for nicotine persist; and that people who try to give up smoking often relapse. The program also describes recent research finding that the teenage brain is still developing and why this may mean that teens are at greater risk for long-lasting addiction. The program also profiles teens who have managed to quit.
DVD: video, teacher's resource book and student handouts with pre/post test in digital format
Recommended Why is smoking so addictive? Why is it so difficult to quit? New research from Duke and the University of Massachusetts is highlighted in this video from Human Relations Media. This is Your Brain on Tobacco explores the reasons for physical addiction to nicotine and the behaviors that become associated with it. With input from experts at Duke and UMass Medical School, the film reviews current thinking on why it is so difficult to quit and suggest ways to help people quit smoking.
Current thinking on nicotine addiction is changing with new findings indicating that the teenage brain is exceptionally vulnerable to addiction. With the frontal cortex still developing and their brains easy to mold and change, teenagers are frequently becoming addicted faster and their addiction lasts longer. Many teens are addicted after just one cigarette, with the majority addicted after one pack. The three stages of addiction are explained as wanting, craving and needing. Recognizing that you are addicted at the wanting stage can be helpful for those wishing to quit. Affecting the dopamine receptors and pleasure centers in the brain, smoking brings a feeling of relaxation, stress relief and increased concentration. Like other addictive substances, nicotine also brings an increased tolerance to the drug, making smokers need more and more cigarettes to achieve the same feelings.
Accompanied by a 40 page workbook, This is Your Brain on Nicotine is aimed at a teen and young adult audience. It is a good introduction to a classroom or counseling session on smoking for that age group and is recommended for junior to senior high library collections.
- Lori Widzinski, Health Sciences Library, University at Buffalo, State University of New York