Cigarette smoking causes almost half a million deaths each year in the United States alone. One in every five deaths in this country are attributed to smoking. Smokers are more likely to develop heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer than are nonsmokers. And smoking is responsible for one-third of cancer deaths in the United States. With all these scary statistics, it’s a wonder so many people still smoke. But the truth is smoking is highly addictive. It is a physical and mental addiction that takes hold and, for many, feels almost impossible to shake.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, researchers discovered that omega-3 supplementation helps reduce craving for cigarettes and also reduces the number of cigarettes smoked per day. The study involved 48 smokers aged 18–45 who smoked at least ten cigarettes daily for an average of eleven years. They were divided into two groups: one group received an omega-3 supplement containing 2710 mg EPA and 2040 mg DHA daily for one month, and the other group received a placebo.
“The substances and medications used currently to help people reduce and quit smoking are not very effective and cause adverse effects that are not easy to cope with,” noted Sharon Rabinovitz Shenkar, PhD. “The findings of this study indicated that omega-3, an inexpensive and easily available dietary supplement with almost no side effects, reduces smoking significantly.”
After thirty days, the smokers taking the omega-3 supplementation were smoking two less cigarettes per day without having been asked to change their smoking habits at all. They also had a decrease in nicotine cravings. Thirty days after the supplementation had been discontinued cigarette cravings increased slightly but were still lower than the initial amount before supplementation, suggesting that omega-3s exert an effect long after they are stopped.