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Most people who want to quit smoking have tried every method going – the patches, the gum, e-cigarettes – but a new technique is offering promising results – though there is a bit of a catch.
The drawback, the scientists warn, is having to suffer ‘profoundly unpleasant odours’.
You have to wear a mask that releases the smell of cigarette smoke paired with rotting fish directly into your mouth and nostrils while you sleep.
Wearing the fishy mask reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by volunteers by 40 per cent for days afterwards.
The technique relies on ‘aversion conditioning’ – associating an unwanted behaviour with something disagreeable.
Scientists found – unsurprisingly – that making their 66 volunteers wear the fish-mask during the day had no effect.
During sleep, though, there was a definite ‘learning’ effect when the smell of smoke was paired with the revolting odour.
The effects, the scientists say, last ‘several days’ – and they are now working on fine-tuning the results, so patients can ‘learn not to smoke’ while they sleep.